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"In the league, Christmas-time is when we really evaluate it. If we are in the same position then as we are now, we would say it is a good start to the season. But it is still too early to look at the league table and start singing and dancing."

- Rio Ferdinand

09/11/2012 16:20, Report by Adam Marshall
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Rio won't get carried away

Rio Ferdinand is refusing to get carried away with United sitting at the top of both the Barclays Premier League table and Champions League Group H ahead of Saturday's domestic trip to Aston Villa.

The experienced centre-back, who turned 34 this week, is convinced a run of clean sheets is just around the corner as the Reds focus, first and foremost, on getting three points in the Midlands.

"I wouldn't say we are over-happy [at the moment]," he said. "We are in the position we want to be. We set our stall out at the beginning of the Champions League to make sure we qualify comfortably. We have done that with games to spare. We are sitting nicely in the group.

"In the league, Christmas-time is when we really evaluate it, through the January period and the turn of the year. If we are in the same position then as we are now, we would say it is a good start to the season. But it is still too early to look at the league table and start singing and dancing.

"We always know Villa is a tough game and they always save their best for us. We always feel we have to perform to our strongest to make sure we get a result there. That is how it has been for the last few years. Long may it continue."

With qualification for the knockout stages in Europe already assured, Ferdinand can perhaps expect to be rested for the final two group games, although he has no problem playing midweek matches - as he proved when coming on as a substitute in Braga.

"I have not been speaking about my injuries because there haven't been any," he stressed. "Over the last 18 months, I have managed it really well. The club have helped me.

"It is testament to the club, and the medical and science department for helping me along. I am just happy to be playing consistently week in, week out. If the manager needs me to play during the week, that is fine as well. I am more than capable of doing that as I have proved over the past 18 months."

Ferdinand feels a settled defence will ensure things tighten up at the back as the squad have been working hard on

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