Phil Jones has set his sights on United getting to the top of the table by the start of next year, with City having some tough games to play between now and then.

“City have done fantastically this season,” Jones said. “I am not taking anything away from them. But they do have some tough games coming up. I don’t care how good you are, teams can be put under pressure. This is a difficult league to be in. It would be nice to reach top spot by Christmas. But it is not essential. Don’t be writing us off if we are not there by January.”

United’s remaining 2011 fixtures
Newcastle (h) 4th
Villa (a) 8th
Wolves (h) 17th
Fulham (a) 16th
Wigan (h) 20th
Blackburn (h) 19th

Average league position of opposition: 14th

City’s remaining 2011 fixtures
Liverpool (a) 6th
Norwich (h) 11th
Chelsea (a) 5th
Arsenal (h) 7th
Stoke (h) 14th
West Brom (a) 10th

Average league position of opposition: 8th