a defensive rigidity to a United side that notched six consecutive wins. Midway through the month, Rafael issued a rallying cry, proclaiming that, despite the team's poor start to the campaign, United could still win the title: "If we get a good run going, I think we have a chance. We can do 10 games unbeaten – this is Manchester United. This club can always win games. It is not impossible for us to win the title."
Having picked up an injury in the Boxing Day clash with Hull City, Rafael returned to the Reds' starting XI in the 2-1 reverse against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg. Four further appearances followed, with varying degrees of success, starting with the 2-0 home league win over Swansea, after which United were comfortably beaten by Chelsea and Rafael was arguably lucky not to see red after a challenge on Blues defender Gary Cahill. Then, days later, the Reds were knocked out of the Capital One Cup on penalties by Sunderland, with Rafael among the players unfortunate to miss their spot-kick. But a professional display against Cardiff helped United get back to winning ways and marked a second clean sheet of January.