Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says festive fixtures could make or break his side’s Premier League title charge.
United lead rivals Manchester City by six points at the top of the standings but face a gruelling run of four games in 10 days against Swansea, Newcastle, West Brom and Wigan.
And Ferguson believes that if his side can still be top of the pile on New Year’s Day, they stand a very good chance of claiming a record 20th league title.
“I look at December as an opportunity to gather points,” the Scot told reporters.
“If we are top of the league on New Year’s Day we know fine well, and so does everyone else, that we are going to be in the ball park at the end of the season.
“But we expect a challenge. It is what we are good at.”
United will be boosted by the return of club captain Nemanja Vidic, who has spent the best part of a year on the sidelines, and Ferguson is in no doubt as to the potential impact the Serb’s presence can have.
“Nemanja is one of the best, a penalty box defender, there is no doubt about that,” the United boss added.
“People have spoken about us losing goals. I would hope that stops, or reduces it a good bit anyway.”
Manchester United travel to Wales to take on Swansea on Sunday.