Monday’s 1-0 win over Fulham had all the hallmarks of a Manchester United win in the closing weeks of a season.
Rio Ferdinand believes their experience of such tight encounters gives them the belief they can hold their nerve while others would panic. He also thinks such wins have a negative mental impact on the rivals.
“It happens every year and at this stage of the season we know what it takes and we’ve got comfort in the knowledge that we can create chances and remain calm,” said Ferdinand.
“The crowd got a bit edgy at the end of the game, understandably. But if it’s 0-0 after 88 minutes we still know we’re going to create chances in the dying moments to win games and it’s important to keep that in mind.
“You’ve got to hold your nerve but as important as that, if not more important, is trusting each other. You’ve got to trust in the fact that if you’re not going to create a chance, someone else is.
"If you’re not going to put your head on the ball when it comes into the box or make that tackle, someone else is. That’s the way you’ve got to be, and the team that does that best between now and the end of the season will be the one to win the league.”
Ferdinand insist that as well as the impetus a hard-fought win gives United, it is the demoralising impact on their challengers that cannot be underestimated.
He said: “I’ve been in that position before. I remember playing against West Ham a few years ago when we went out for the warm-up. Everton were winning 2-1 against Chelsea and when we came in we found out it had been reversed. Chelsea won the game and it killed us a little bit and we ended up losing to West Ham that time. So psychologically it can affect teams, but we don’t care what happens with them, it’s about us. If we remain calm and win all our games, we’ll be successful.
“As long as we keep winning our games, that’s all that matters. Instead of worrying about the other teams and how they’re doing, it doesn’t really play on our minds to be honest. It’s about us, about keeping our own house in order. We say the same thing every season but it really is true.”