Rio: United playing the long game
Rio Ferdinand has warned Manchester United's rivals the current Barclays Premier League table will count for nothing when the trophy is handed out in May.
The defending champions have not enjoyed the smoothest of starts to David Moyes' tenure, and dropped another two points at Cardiff on Sunday to lie sixth in the standings, seven points behind leaders Arsenal.
United have already lost three and drawn three of their opening 12 games - on their way to last season's title they only lost five and drew five of 38 fixtures.
But veteran defender Ferdinand, has reminded their competitors they will write United off at their peril.
"Nothing is given out now so it doesn't matter what the table looks like now," he said.
"As long as you are within touching distance we will continue picking up points, build up momentum, and hopefully push our way up the table.
"We aimed to win against Cardiff, that's what we set out to do at the start of the day. It's disappointing we didn't but at the same time there will be big clubs that come here and drop points so looking back maybe at the end of the season we might see this as a point gained rather than two points dropped."
United now move on to face Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Wednesday, knowing victory will guarantee them top spot in Group A with a game to spare.
Ferdinand expects a tough test in Germany, but hopes to get the job done to allow the Red Devils to give the Premier League their full focus.
"We want to get it done early so that we can get back into the Premier League and have nothing else distracting us. It would be nice if we could get it finished over there," he said.
"They are a good team, a well-equipped team. I think it will be a tougher game at their place. It is not going to be easy but we are more than capable."