Harry Maguire, the Manchester United and England central defender, has said that his team can still win the Premier League title this season - and he can prove it.
The Yorkshireman was speaking after United's stunning 2-1 victory over their intensest rivals, Manchester City, at Maine Road yesterday. He said:
"People have written us off too early. We are taking it easy, and pacing ourselves. We'll be there at the finish."
According to Maguire's girlfriend, Fern Hawkins, he has been busy upstairs most evenings this week, carrying out a vast amount of in-depth research and analysis into the team's fixtures, their opponents, injuries, suspensions, the weather conditions and the states of the pitches, potential cup runs, crowd stats, prices of tickets, and kits likely to be worn.
"He got himself a pencil and two of those notebooks that have the wire at the spine, and he wrote down all the matches that United have left to play. Then, he worked out the results."
He did this, she claims, by using a blackboard to map out all the possible events in every remaining match, and was thus able to determine what the scores will be.
He then did the same for every other club.
"Oh, he's sure!" said Fern. "He's told all the other players not to worry, and that they're going to be champions, come next May."
In fairness, United's run-in to the end of the season is a piece of piss. They play Sheffield United, Brighton, Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Southampton, Crystal Palace, and West Ham United, and the only potential stumbling block comes in their final game at Filbert Street against Leicester City.
"No bother! They're my mates, and I've already had a word with Jamie!"