Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is aiming to "survive" Sunday's trip to Tottenham, insisting a positive result at White Hart Lane will significantly boost his side's chances of retaining the Premier League title.
Ferguson has targeted the six-week run of fixtures from mid-January onwards as the key to United's hopes of a record 20th championship. Recent victories over Arsenal and Liverpool, plus a point collected from a trip to Chelsea when United found themselves three goals down in the second half, have left them two behind leaders Manchester City.
"It's going to be a massive game [at Spurs]"' Ferguson told Inside United. "If we can survive that one, then we'll have a big chance of winning the league.
"I would take it [being two points behind City going into the game at the Etihad Stadium]. I would rather go there on level points. But if we could go there within striking distance of being top of the league, I'd take it."
Although there have been a few fitness woes recently, with Antonio Valencia and Tom Cleverley sidelined after picking up minor knocks in the recent Europa League encounter with Ajax, the biggest part of United's massive injury list has now cleared up. And that leaves Ferguson with an even greater sense of optimism.
"I should have more players available than I've had in the last few weeks because we've had a terrible spell of injuries," he said. "But we've done the right thing in the treatment of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, we've given them a break.
"They are young players and they had been carrying little strains for weeks. Then all of a sudden it hits them, and we had to take stock, to get them back. We've given them a fair break and they're fresh now."