Sir Alex Ferguson’s side travel to West London to take on Fulham.
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has warned his team-mates not to rest on their laurels as they look to move 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League at Fulham on Saturday.
With second placed Manchester City hosting Liverpool on Sunday, United have the opportunity to take their lead into double figures with a win at Craven Cottage against a Fulham side routed by Alex Ferguson’s team in the FA Cup last weekend.
But United were far from convincing in their midweek 2-1 home victory over lowly Southampton and have let 10 points slip on their travels.
Those away-day blips have convinced United captain Vidic that his team are far from the finished article and he insists they must give Fulham full respect.
“We have to now focus for the next game against Fulham. Away games are always hard so we need to think about that. It’s a good position we’re in,” Vidic said.
“It’s important to win games, especially at this stage of the season, and every game now is important.
“We know that we have to forget the games that come before and always focus on the next ones. Nothing is finished yet. There is a long way to go but we’re in a good position.”
Robin van Persie has taken much of the attention at United this season thanks to his blistering start to life at Old Trafford following his pre-season move from Arsenal.
But England striker Wayne Rooney’s two goals in the victory over Southampton took his tally to 12 for a season that has been disrupted by injury and he has now managed nine goals in nine games.
And Vidic expects Rooney to continue to make a considerable contribution as United chase silverware on three fronts.
“Wayne is important for the team. He is working hard,” Vidic said.
“Obviously, he scored the goals and I think the more games he plays, the better he is. We need him, especially for the second half of the season, as we need all the players to be fit.
“We have a good squad now and it’s going to be hard for the manager to choose the first XI.”
United duo Jonny Evans and Ashley Young remain doubtful for the game at Craven Cottage due to respective hamstring and knee problems.
Ferguson’s men will find the mood has been lifted at Craven Cottage after a productive week for Fulham following their 4-1 FA Cup defeat against United.
The decision by club chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed to convert loans into equity means the club is now effectively debt free and that announcement was followed 24 hours later by the morale-boosting 3-1 win over West Ham.
That was only Fulham’s third win in 19 games but it moved Martin Jol’s side eight points clear of the bottom three, allaying fears they could get drawn into the relegation battle.
They will face United strengthened by the arrival of AC Milan’s Holland international Urby Emanuelson on loan until the end of the season.
“It’s a loan, it’s not easy to get players from AC Milan on a permanent basis,” said Jol.
“He’s a skilful player, he’s very mobile, quick. He can left midfield, wide or number 10.
“We need fresh legs and it will be until the end of the season. We want to strengthen the squad.”
Venue Craven Cottage, Saturday 5.30pm
Last season Fulham 0 Man Utd 5
Referee Kevin Friend
This season’s matches 13 Y48, R1, 3.77 cards per game
Subs from Etheridge, Somogyi, Kasami, Petric, Frimpong, Briggs, Hughes, Dejagah, Na Bangna, Kakaniklic
Injured Berbatov (hamstring, 9 Feb), Diarra (knee, 9 Feb), Richardson (calf, 9 Feb), Sidwell (knee, 9 Feb), Davies (thigh, 23 Feb), Frei (pelvis, unknown)
Unavailable Enoh, Manolev (both awaiting clearance)
Form guide WLDWLD
Disciplinary record Y26 R1
Leading scorer Berbatov 8
Subs from Lindegaard, Amos, Smalling, Evans, Buttner, Cleverley, Giggs, Jones, Scholes, Nani, Hernández, Welbeck
Injured Young (knee, 10 Feb), Fletcher (bowel, Aug)
Form guide WDWWWW
Disciplinary record Y42 R0
Leading scorer Van Persie 18
Manchester United have won six and drawn one of their past seven matches against Fulham in all competitions.
Fulham have only beaten Manchester United three times in 23 Premier League meetings.
Fulham have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 10 league matches.
The midweek win against West Ham was only their third in their last 16 Premier League games.
Dimitar Berbatov scored his eighth Premier League goal of the season against West Ham, but only his third in 13 games.
Six of these goals have come before half-time.
Damien Duff now has seven assists this season (only three players in the Premier League have more). The last time the
Irishman had more assists in a Premier League season was at Chelsea in 2003-04 (nine).
United have now came from behind to win on nine occasions in the Premier League this season. The most in a Premier
League season is 10, by Newcastle in 2001-02.
Wayne Rooney has now scored two goals in a match on 27 occasions in the Premier League – only Alan Shearer (46) and
Thierry Henry (34) have more.
The Red Devils have taken 32 points from the last possible 36 (W10, D2).
They had 11 shots against Southampton, who had 20.
Man United 16/1 to win 3-0: Fulham Vs Man United betting