Manchester United skipper Patrice Evra believes the key to the Premier League title will be for the Red Devils to hit the front quickly at Sunderland.
United head to the Stadium of Light in the uncomfortable position of knowing that even if they win, it will mean nothing unless QPR ensure their own top-flight survival by nicking a point off Manchester City.
It looks like a hopeless cause given QPR have an abysmal record away from home, whilst City have only dropped two points at the Etihad Stadium this term and on their last outing secured a deserved triumph over the Red Devils.
Yet Evra accepts United cannot just abandon all hope. And he feels if his side can get their noses in front, and secure the league leadership on a very temporary basis as City are still trying to break the deadlock, it may prove to be the start of a glorious day.
"We cannot think about what Manchester City are doing,'' said Evra. "We just have to make sure we win. The Sunderland game isn't easy but if we score first then maybe the City fans in the stadium will start to get nervous.
"When you are nervous then you can rush things and you don't do things as well as you'd like.''
As Evra acknowledges, it is a long shot. But straw clutching is the only sport United have available to them now. "You have to believe,'' he said.
And, according to Evra, if is all goes wrong, Sir Alex Ferguson is the one who will feel it the most.
"It hurts the manager a lot when we lose a game, more than it used to,'' said the France defender. "That shows you the character and the personality he has to always win. If we don't win the league it will hurt a lot of people, but the first person it will hurt will be the manager.''
Evra is vowing that United will recover and challenge for major honours again next term.
"We always bounce back,'' he said. "I trust everyone working for this club and I would never turn my back on Manchester United. You have to have belief. But maybe, if we don't win, everyone - including myself - will say that I have to do much better if we want to win the league again.
"So we will try and rebuild something that's stronger and try and win every competition next season. That's the United way - every year we start the season wanting to win every trophy. We need to make sure that next year we give everything to do that.''