Is last season’s disappointment hovering in your mind as a warning?
Obviously what happened last year was a big disappointment, but as a footballer having the chance to win the Premier League title should be enough to drive you on regardless. I’m sure City will look at what happened last season and still believe they have a chance, so we have to make sure we don’t take any games lightly and that we try to win every game we go into. What happened last season was a terrible disappointment for us and it’s our aim to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.
Presumably the manager will not allow any kind of lapse in focus anyway?
No, definitely not. We have regular team meetings and he speaks to a lot of players individually too, especially some of the younger lads. And his team-talks are brilliant. They really inspire you. It doesn’t matter that we might be a few points clear of other teams, he never lets you feel like that before a match because he wants us to keep going and maintain that lead.
Bar the odd injury, the majority of the squad have been fit in recent weeks – that’s a huge advantage at this stage of the campaign, isn’t it?
Yes, it’s great. We’ve had quite a few injuries at this stage of the season in past years, which has made things tough. Having players fit now is very important because it gives the manager so many options at a time when there are a lot of big matches. If he needs to rest a few players and bring others in he can do that. Hopefully everyone can stay fit between now and the end of the season.
Is the positive twist on early season injuries to players like Kagawa and Nani, and to a degree yourself, that you and they feel relatively fresh?
Yes, definitely. I haven’t played as many games as I normally would have at this point in the season and I do feel fresh and ready for that battle until the end of the season. With the way the manager rotates the team there will be a lot of players who are feeling fresh as well. Some teams tend to field the same team every week and when you get towards the end of the campaign you can lose that sharpness because of that. We should definitely be well prepared.
Also in United’s sights this season is the FA Cup. There seems to be a real appetite to win it this season, is that the feeling in the dressing room?