Manchester City head into the toughest period of their season to date with warning from captain Vincent Kompany that they will hit a bad patch.
City top the Premier League after staying unbeaten throughout the first 11 games of campaign, dropping only two points at Fulham. Having already established a five-point lead over champions United, whom they beat 6-1, there is even talk that Roberto Mancini's men could go the whole season unbeaten.
City welcome third-placed Newcastle - also yet to lose this season - in their next outing, before away trips to Napoli, Liverpool and Arsenal. The visit of Norwich then precedes another difficult trio of fixtures against Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Kompany is backing his colleagues to show their mental strength, but he did confess City are expecting the road ahead of them to get bumpy.
"We will hit a bad patch, like with every team," Kompany told Match of the Day magazine. "But you don't necessarily have to lose just because you're playing badly.
"Let's just keep playing well for as long as possible. We've got many players here who have won titles at different levels, so that's not a problem. The club hasn't won the title for a long time but we showed in the FA Cup final that we won't let that affect us."