Sir Alex Ferguson feels United have adjusted well to life without Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese winger left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in a world record deal last summer, and his absence was tipped by many experts to severely hamper the Reds' push for silverware this term.
However, with United well placed in four competitions, and virtually parallel on Premier League points with last season, Sir Alex feels his squad have pulled together to compensate for Ronaldo's sale.
"I think it’s a bit of a media thing," said the United manager. "Most of the media are saying losing Ronaldo is crucial, but we’re only one point worse off than last season.
"Obviously Cristiano Ronaldo was an unbelievable player and it was inevitable that he was going to leave at some point, but I think we’ve adjusted fairly well to it.
"You can’t go into a season, having lost the number of goals Ronaldo scored for us last season, thinking you can improve that. We knew it would be an issue for us, and we made the point early in the season that the midfield had to chip in with a few. So we’ve done reasonably well that way."
Summer signing Antonio Valencia drew special praise from the United manager for the quietly efficient manner with which he has acclimatised to life at Old Trafford, bringing his own attacking menace to a position Ronaldo made his own for six seasons.
"Valencia has done very well, his development is very good," said Sir Alex. "He’s tough as boots, he has great stamina and speed. He’s a different type of player to Ronaldo, but he’s done very well, so we’ve replaced that position reasonably well.
"He’s a quiet, shy boy. In a personality sense I don’t think he’s interested in matching Ronaldo. But on a performance level he has been unaffected by the position he’s playing in – he enjoys it there.
"He can play other positions – we’ve not tested that yet. I know he can play centre-midfield because