Old Trafford side look to make history.
With Man City having admitted defeat in the current Premier League title race, runaway leaders Manchester United are setting their sights on breaking records and the preservation of freshness in their squad ahead of a push to clinch the double.
United visit Sunderland on Saturday, when victory would provisionally take them a massive 18 points clear of second-place City, who host Newcastle United later in the day and whose manager, Roberto Mancini, accepts United can no longer be caught.
Eighteen points is the record margin by which United won the title from Arsenal in 2000, while manager Alex Ferguson has spoken of his desire to eclipse Chelsea’s unprecedented haul of 95 points from the 2004-05 campaign.
United are also out to gain revenge for the exuberant celebrations of Sunderland’s fans after Ferguson’s men lost out on the title to City at the Stadium of Light on the final day of last season.
However, thoughts of both vengeance and the history books must be weighed against the need to retain focus for Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final replay at Chelsea.
With such a short turnover between the games, and in the immediate aftermath of the international break, Ferguson has given a strong hint that he will make changes for the visit of Martin O’Neill’s side.
“Every coach is praying that their players come back fit (from international duty),” said Ferguson.
“I have to make sure I have some freshness in the team because we also have Chelsea on Monday lunchtime.
“It is a big ask for our squad and something we need to concentrate on because I need to make sure I pick the right teams.”