The we’ll-score-more-than-you attitude of recent games draws natural comparisons with United’s Treble-winning side. In a more pragmatic age, however, the risks are arguably greater.
“There has definitely been a sense of we’ll score more than you recently and as exciting as that is, part of me hopes that we don’t keep doing that,” Cole continued. “No matter what you do, if you keep playing like that throughout the whole season, you will come unstuck. Everyone wants to see goals, of course you do.
“That said, if you concede goals then there might be that day, like against Tottenham earlier this season, where you don’t come back over the line in the end. Over the course of 38 games, you have to say to yourself: how many times can you do that? Fingers crossed we start to shut up shop a bit more and close games out. But that will be helped when injuries in defence subside.”
There is a Manchester derby on the horizon in December but, before then, United face four tough Barclays Premier League games against Norwich, Queens Park Rangers, West Ham and Reading and Cole says the United players won’t be looking too far ahead in the fixture list.
“It’s absolutely vital that we do well in this spell, but I always think that in the Premier League every game is winnable and every game has its pitfalls,” he says. “None of those four teams will want to lie down for Man United. We saw how difficult it was going to Norwich last season, while QPR and Reading are fighting for points and West Ham are doing well in the top half of the table. It can be dangerous to look too far ahead. It’s why as a footballer you always talk about the next game.”