Chris Smalling hopes a professional approach on the training field will make the difference to the "fine margin" between success and disappointment this season.
Manchester United head to Sunderland this weekend looking to bounce back from the 2-1 opening-day defeat at home to Swansea, in which Smalling played 90 minutes.
Speaking to ManUtd.com before the game, the defender revealed his conviction that hard work behind the scenes could be crucial when it comes to the crunch later in the campaign.
"You have to make sure you leave each day with no regrets and knowing you’ve given everything on the training pitch," he said.
"You then recover and take the same approach again the next day. It’s a case of keeping up that professionalism every day to ensure you stay at the top."
Smalling has experienced football's highs and lows over the last 18 months, with a Premier League title followed by last year's testing campaign, before he featured in England's frustrating World Cup in Brazil. It has been the biggest learning curve of his fledgling career.
"There have been fine margins with all of those things," he said. "You can be up there one minute and then you can be down again. It's shown me how important it is to really stay at that top level and do as much as you can every day when you come to the training ground.
"When you go through experiences like that, you never forget them and you have to learn from them. They’ll always stick with you when the next tough time comes, or when you need that next win to go top of the league. Those experiences can help spur you on."