The Monday night showdown at the Etihad Stadium is already prematurely being billed as a title decider by some but there is no doubt that, following Tottenham's defeat to Arsenal, the likelihood of the Barclays Premier League trophy remaining in Manchester was increased.
United travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday two points adrift of City following the last-gasp victory at Norwich and the boss is determined to keep in touch with Roberto Mancini's men.
"It’s going to be a massive game," he said of the trip to Spurs. "If we can survive that one, then we’ll have a big, big chance of winning the league.
"Yes, I would take it [being two points behind going into the Etihad Stadium fixture]. I would rather go there on level points. But if we could go there within striking distance of being top of the league, I’d take it.
"I should have more players available than I’ve had in the last few weeks because we’ve had a terrible spell of injuries. But we’ve done the right thing in the treatment of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, we’ve given them a break. They are young players and they had been carrying little strains for weeks. Then all of a sudden it hits them, and we had to take stock, to get them back. We’ve given them a fair break and they’re fresh now."
The manager is hoping that United's greater experience of winning titles could prove crucial in the run-in.