Gary Neville had a relatively quiet afternoon at the Reebok today, watching his team batter Bolton but fail to find the back of the net.

An uncomfortable pattern has been developing, with United failing to score more than one goal a game in the league for months.

Neville has today confessed that he was looking at the clock as time trickled away against Bolton, but admits experience has taught him never to give up hope when United are playing.

“I remember looking at the clock and there was a minute left,” Neville said. “But at this club you never think you’re out of the match – you always know you’ll get another chance. That’s been the motto down the years: we’ll always get a chance. And we got that against Bolton. Carlos Tevez did absolutely brilliantly down the inside right channel. He got into those areas all day, particularly in the first half and we kept playing it into him. He was very dangerous for us.”

Neville is obviously delighted United are now top of the table, although is fully aware the hard work starts here.

“We’re experienced enough to know that nothing’s won in January,” Neville added. “We’re top of the league now but we can be knocked off. We’ll only know how significant this result was at the end of the season. In December our aim was to get through the Club World Cup trip to Japan and still be in contention. We’ve done that and we’re top now, but the really hard work is still to come.”