Having hit peak form, Ji-sung Park is frustrated that international commitments will force him to miss seven games for United at the turn of the year.
The Korean winger has been one of United's star performers so far this season and already has six goals to his name – his highest tally for the Reds.
But after the game against Sunderland on Boxing Day, he’s jetting off to captain South Korea in the prestigious Asian Cup.
Park will miss the games against Birmingham (home and away), Stoke, West Brom, Liverpool in the FA Cup, Tottenham and Blackpool, but is confident he’ll return to a Reds side very much in contention at the top of the table.
"Playing for the national team is an honour, but I am also very happy to play for United, so missing several games is disappointing," he said.
"But United have a big enough squad to be very strong and they will do well without me. Hopefully I will leave with a decent performance and three points [against Sunderland]. I have to put everything into the game.
"I will keep an eye on United's schedule and results when I am away – I will focus on the team. And I totally believe we will still be top when I come back. I have no doubts we will be in the same position as we are at the moment."
With Arsenal facing Chelsea on Monday, at least one of United’s title rivals will drop points – and that arguably increases the significance of the Reds’ clash against the Black Cats.
"This game is important," Park continued. "But there is still a long way to the end of the season so we must try to get three points in every game rather than looking at what it means. We will see what happens between Arsenal and Chelsea on Monday.
"Sunderland have shown what they can do against the big teams, particularly Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. That was a great result. Maybe they are going to do the same at Old Trafford.
"We need to be aware of that and concentrate on the game. It will not be easy."