Football: United must maintain momentum, says de Gea

LONDON - Goalkeeper David de Gea believes the busy holiday fixture list offers the perfect opportunity for Manchester United to put some pressure on the Premier League's top two clubs.

United are third as they prepare to host Newcastle United on Friday, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea and seven behind champions Manchester City.

While a substantial gap, United are on a seven-match unbeaten run and beginning to look like a force again after a sticky start under new manager Louis van Gaal.

Spaniard De Gea, who has been instrumental in United's upturn, says they must keep the momentum going. "It's all about keeping this good run going," De Gea told United website. "Both as an individual and as a team and keeping going with good results.

"This one is going to be a very, very big game. It's really vital that we get the three points and keep this run going because I think we're in some decent form at the moment."

After Newcastle, United travel to Tottenham Hotspur on Dec. 28 and Stoke City on New Year's Day, meaning no rest for the former Atletico Madrid stopper, although Van Gaal did let the squad enjoy Christmas Day off.

"It's a bit strange for all of us who are coming here from other leagues where we've been used to having a winter or at least a Christmas and New Year break," he said. "At the same time, these are the fixtures you really enjoy. It's a good period in the season and these games are always exciting."