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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Owen Hargreaves column
Owen Hargreaves column exclusively on BBC Sport
By Owen Hargreaves
England and Bayern Munich midfielder

The Bundesliga, Premiership and Spanish league title races are set for a thrilling climax and it's great for the fans, media and players this season.

They are competitive and I believe the Premiership is going to go down to the wire as Manchester United still have to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

There is a lot of top-class entertainment to come but Manchester United are in a good position in the sense that they have an extra point in terms of their goal difference.

It keeps it tight and ensures that everyone is on their toes. I think it is boring when teams are winning the league by 20 points as there is nothing really left to play for.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are in the Champions League semi-finals and it is going to be an interesting end to the season.

It would be quite remarkable if Manchester United and Chelsea played each other in the Champions League final as well as contesting the league and FA Cup.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (left) and Man Utd counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson
Mourinho (left) and Ferguson are both challenging on three fronts at present

There is still a lot of football left to be played but both clubs have put themselves in an incredibly good position.

You have to take your hat off to them as it is very difficult to do that.

People might be amazed at how Chelsea keep digging out results but that is the mark of a good team and that is why they are still in every competition.

It's not a coincidence. All those teams who say they were unlucky and deserved more - it's a load of rubbish.

You get what you deserve and when you have good players, experience and talent it shows.

Mentality also plays a part. Manchester United and Chelsea have a positive mentality instilled at their clubs.

In Spain, it is almost as close, with Barcelona just ahead of Sevilla, Real Madrid and Valencia.

In our case, we are fourth but still have a chance of the title.

We played on Sunday against Bayer Leverkusen after being knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan and it was important we won.

All the teams above us had won on Saturday so our 2-1 win was crucial.

We can never afford to not qualify for the Champions League - we have never had to play in the Uefa Cup since I've been here

There is always pressure in football but when you are going into the final games of a season all you can ask for is that you control your own destiny.

It's crucial for your experienced players to come to the fore.

You also have to focus as each game is extremely different yet important.

But if you win then you put yourself in a position that if the other team slips up, which they probably will at one time or another, then you know you can gain some ground.

That's especially the case when you have a direct head-to-head - like we do against Vfb Stuttgart.

We can leapfrog them into third and help secure a Champions League place, which is vital for our club.

We can never afford to not qualify for the competition. We have never had to play in the Uefa Cup since I have been here.

But teams lose games. You cannot win every game. It is impossible and that is the beauty of football - that even the supposed big teams are going to drop points.

Portsmouth beat Manchester United recently and, for a lot of clubs like them, playing United, Bayern or Real Madrid is their biggest game of the season.

You have seen in the past that the smaller teams are more difficult to play than the so-called big ones as they make life difficult and less open.

Some players look at what their rivals are doing but I don't.

I am not really bothered as the most important thing is to win your games. If you draw and lose you always tend have to look at your opponents.

Playing before or after your rivals can be an advantage or disadvantage but once you start worrying about others then it takes away from the focus of what you have to do.

Mind games are also part of football at this level, especially at our club and the bigger teams.

Some of the teams are not used to being the leaders of the pack. Most of the sides in the Bundesliga are used to chasing and like the underdog role.

Now we are the chasers and it will be interesting to see if the teams above us can keep winning games because they have done an extremely good job so far.


What level of education did you achieve?
Rob Moore, Canada

I was in High School in Calgary and I left after Grade 11 so I had one more year left before I graduated to go to college or university.

I moved to Munich at the time because the opportunity to play for the club arose.

I was hoping I could finish my studies but I never really found enough time with the demands that we have. Hopefully, that's something I can do in the future.

But I have also learned a lot from the footballing world and sport in general - in terms of the different personalities, the coaches and the people you meet.

I think that has sometimes been more beneficial to me than books, numbers and history lessons.

Hi Owen, I was wondering what your thoughts are when it comes to players turning managers. Also would you consider it yourself when you retire?
Matthew Wilson, United Kingdom

It is not something I am thinking about at the moment. I am still 26 and I have hopefully got a lot of football left to play.

But it is the next step, especially with someone like Roy Keane. He was so influential as a player and it is inevitable to try to control a whole team.

A player of that calibre, who has competed at international and Champions League level and won titles, has more knowledge and information than you could ever learn through a coaching licence.

Could you play in the same midfield as Michael Carrick?
Dave Butler, England

I have played with so many different players in the past. I think I can fit in with anyone.

It is not really for me to decide but a manager. However, like I say, I think I could play with anyone.

I don't think my style is specifically suited to one kind of player.

Do you feel aggrieved when you're not starting a match?
Nick Will, UK

I am not happy when I am sitting on the bench, that's for sure.

It is different when you are given a rest but to not play when you expect or want to play is extremely disappointing.

I want to compete and sitting on the bench is not what I want to be doing.

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