Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United are on course to retain their Premier League title - because they are defending even better than last season.
United are on equal points with Arsenal at the top of the table and last weekend's 2-0 win at Reading means the Red Devils have won eight out of their last nine league games.
Ferguson told MUTV: 'We had to work really hard and defend as a group.
'There's a good understanding of the importance of the defensive part of our game and we're better than we were last season in that sense.
'We're into the run-in now. After new year the games start to drop off very quickly and before you know it you're down to the last few. We're trying to stay focused and not get carried away.
'The players know they're going to have to work hard to win this title. But we've got a good squad and I think we're improving in certain aspects of our play.'
United's chances should also be boosted by Owen Hargreaves saying he has completely shaken off the injury problems which dogged the first half of his season.
Hargreaves said: 'The game against Reading was the best and strongest I have felt in weeks.
'It was good to be back. I feel positive and optimistic now. I'm looking forward to the next three of four months because I think Manchester United can have a fabulous season. I want to play every game.'