Jonny Evans feels hard work and concentration are behind Manchester United's scintillating run of league form in the last two months.
Since the 6-1 derby defeat, the Reds have taken 25 points from a possible 27 to draw level with Manchester City at the Barclays Premier League summit. Evans feels the loss to City made the players re-focus their efforts and United have reaped the benefits since.
"At the start of the season we were playing this open, attacking football. It seemed like it didn't matter if somebody scored two goals against us because we'd go out and score three. It's hard to maintain that throughout a season, though," Evans told ManUtd.com.
"Since the Manchester City game we've defended better, but it wasn't a case that we all sat down and discussed what needed to be done - it was just a realisation in people's minds that we had to work that little bit harder. I think sometimes if you start to find games easy you can take your foot off the pedal and your eye off the ball. But we're now working hard for each other and making it hard for other teams to beat us."
And Evans, who is likely to miss the next two weeks with a calf strain, feels the squad's desire for success will stand the Reds in good stead in 2012. He told us: "When you win all the time you get a real hunger for it. That's something the manager's built here over the years. You don't like the feeling you get when you lose - even in training. And we don't want to get to the end of the season with nothing to show for it."