Midfielder Michael Carrick has warned against complacency after helping Manchester United take charge of the Barclays Premier League title race.
After struggling to convert draws into wins in the early part of the campaign, United have secured top spot at Christmas with three successive victories.
With a two-point advantage over Chelsea and Manchester City with games in hand - one over the Londoners and two over their neighbours - Sir Alex Ferguson's men, who are still unbeaten, are now favourites to reclaim the title.
But Carrick is not taking anything for granted and told the club's website, www.manutd.com: "You hope that spell is behind us.
"It's never far away though if you start to take your foot off the pedal. A couple of bad performances and bad results aren't far behind.
"That's what keeps you going and keeps you on your toes. You've got to keep the standards high, and that's been the strength of this club over the years, maintaining that quality."