Following United’s Champions League defeat against Real Madrid, thanks to the incorrect red card that was shown to Nani, we’ve looked to struggle on the pitch.

First came the FA Cup game against Chelsea when we went 2-0 up before getting battered in the second half and were lucky to escape with a draw. Then came the tame 1-0 wins over struggling teams Reading and Sunderland. United then lost the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Chelsea after another poor display before being beaten by Manchester City at home.

United are still 12 points clear but there have been some suggestions that United might collapse as they did towards the end of last season when the blew an 8 point lead to allow City to win the title. Rio Ferdinand insists this isn’t the case though.

“There has been no hangover at all,” he told MUTV’s Countdown to Kick-Off show. “The Madrid game was a weird one – you’re gutted obviously, but it didn’t feel the same as when we lost to City because we didn’t play well in that game. Against Madrid we did everything that was asked of us as players, but one decision took us off the rails and had a big impact on the way the game finished. So I wouldn’t say that [about there being a hangover]. We’ve had a couple of hard games against two teams [Chelsea and City] that are up there [near the top]. We’ve got no divine right to beat those teams, but we should have beaten them given we were playing at home. That’s the disappointing thing. But no, there is no hangover. Inevitably you have a bit of a down period for a day or so but you’ve got to dust yourself down and move on, and that’s what we’re doing. We go into the Stoke game knowing we need to put a good performance and result together. What you aim for at the start of the season is to get some consistency within your team and that’s what we’ve done. The results we’ve had have been churned out through hard work and applying ourselves in the right way and we’ve got to continue that. One defeat in 19 is some going. We can’t allow all that hard work to be undone by one or two bad results of late.”