Victor Lindelof has revealed he is playing through pain to help put Manchester United in title contention.
Lindelof, 26, is carrying a troublesome back injury but has only missed three games this season and started the last 10 in all competitions.
The defender needed a late fitness test on a knee problem before making himself available for the 6-2 win over Leeds United.
“It’s been tough,” Lindelof said. “I’ve been struggling a lot with my back over the past couple of months, so it’s very important for me to do the treatment and recovery right.
“And then against Sheffield I got a bad knock on my knee so I was 50-50 [to face Leeds] but I managed to go out there and play even though I had pain. I just want to help the team. I’ve been struggling a little bit but I’ve managed to play through the pain.”
The Swede is unlikely to get a break anytime soon as United prepare for a gruelling run of four games in 10 days starting with a Carabao Cup quarterfinal tie with Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday.
– Festive fixtures will reveal if Man United are for real
– Ogden: Man United should swap Pogba for Ronaldo
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to make changes to his team but Lindelof insists the trophy is a priority for the players.
“At this club you always want to win stuff so it’s an important game coming up on Wednesday for us,” he said.
“Games come quick now so you just have to do the recovery right and be prepared for every game. I think the depth we have in the squad is also very important for us going into this period of games.
“But, like I say, we want to win things, obviously, and every opportunity we get we want to win and to improve.”
Victory over Leeds lifted United to third in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.
A positive result at second-place Leicester on Boxing Day would put Solskjaer’s team right in the mix for a first title charge since 2013 but Lindelof is keen to play down any championship talk.
“The most important thing for us is that we’re focusing on one game at a time and that’s what we’ve been doing lately,” he said.
“I think we have been performing good and also we have got some good results. The main thing for us is just to keep working hard, keep focusing on the next game and that’s the thing.
“But obviously when you win games you gain more confidence and that’s what we’ve been doing lately.”