Patrice Evra is demanding Manchester United secure maximum points from their Christmas fixtures as they look to make up lost ground in the Premier League title race.
Two defeats in three games has left United four points adrift of leaders Chelsea, who have hardly been in the best of form themselves.
As Sir Alex Ferguson's men are not in action again until they visit Hull on December 27, the chances are things will get worse before they get better.
But Evra is remaining optimistic. The Frenchman feels three points at the KC Stadium plus another victory against Wigan at Old Trafford on December 30 will put the Red Devils right back in the hunt ahead of a mini break, when cup football takes over.
'It's a crucial time,' he said. 'We lost against Aston Villa and Fulham but the target is to win every game we can from now on.
'We always do well in this period and now, more than ever, we need victories.'
It hardly needs to be stated where United's problems lie. Ferguson had eight senior defenders missing at Craven Cottage and was forced to deploy a back three that included rookie Ritchie De Laet.
Although it does not completely explain why they were so bad against Bobby Zamora and company, it does provide a starting point.
Stand-in: Sir Alex Ferguson has been forced to use Belgian youngster Ritchie De Laet (left) as part of a back three as his defensive injury crisis deepens
Yet, shoved into a position he has no experience in, Evra actually thinks Michael Carrick has done quite well.
'He has quality,' said Evra. 'He doesn't have to play all season at the back but he can do it for some games.'
From past statements, Gary Neville's groin injury is expected to be the quickest to heal of United's various ailments.
Whether that comes it time for Sunday is open to doubt, which means Evra will have to carry on talking to the men around him.
Evra said: 'I try to give experience at the back and make sure we all speak to each other.
'It's not easy but we have a strong squad, and you have to be able to play anywhere to win the title.'
Villa gives United and Chelsea green light to take him to Premier LeagueMan United lose another Busby Babe as winger Albert Scanlon dies aged 74Manchester United top of the crime league.but football related arrests fallMANCHESTER UNITED FC