Bruno Fernandes has demanded Manchester United continue to work hard and continue developing a winning mentality as they look to rival Liverpool for the Premier League crown. United joined the champions on 33 points after beating Aston Villa on Friday night.
The Red Devils are now unbeaten in their last 10 league games and have won more than any other top-flight team with 10 from 16.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have surged up the table having trailed Liverpool by nine points after Arsenal beat United at Old Trafford in early November.
But Anthony Martial’s header and Fernandes’ penalty, either side of Bertrand Traore’s finish, gave United victory and allows them to up the pressure on Liverpool.
But Portuguese playmaker insists his United team-mates need to ensure they are consistent on and off the pitch as they look to deliver the club’s first title since 2013.
Fernandes declared after the win over Villa: “Of course but it’s far away the end of the Premier League so we have to keep going, train hard and try to keep winning.
“You have to keep this mentality of winning and winning.”
And he added of United’s performance: “The only mistake we made today was we had more chances to score again and maybe we have to close the game more quickly.
“We don’t score the third one and they press us until the end. We knew they [Aston Villa] play really well.
“They have qualities and are doing well in the league. We did well and created more chances than before but scored less goals.
“The most important thing is three points though.”
Solskjaer refused to go into any real depth about a potential title challenge and repeated the age old cliche that United should take things on a game-by-game basis.
“Don’t get me wrong I’m delighted with the three points and very happy with the performance,” he said. “But there’s always things we need to improve on.
“It’s early on in the season and we shouldn’t get too carried away with three points. It’s not a cup final yet – but those three points extra, they are important.
“Since project restart started, I think we’ve been a very consistent team. Every time you win a game, of course you take one step further. It’s three points in total.
“You’ve just got to accumulate the points. The first game is just as important as the last game. They all count the same.”
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Asked about United’s trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on January 17, Solskjaer added: “I’ve not started thinking about that, we’ve got a big game against City here at Old Trafford on Wednesday [in the Carabao Cup semi-finals].
“There’s so many games, you can’t think four days ahead really because there’s just something around the corner.”
United host neighbours City in a single-leg semi-final on Wednesday night seeking to book a Wembley showdown with either Tottenham or Brentford in the final.
After that, United’s FA Cup campaign gets underway with the visit of Watford the following Saturday.
Solskjaer’s charges return to action in the league away at Burnley on Tuesday January 12 before the trip to face Liverpool on Merseyside the following Sunday.
Fernandes will be hoping to have a key say in the matches in which he is involved, with rest in the FA Cup likely, having produced 15 goals and nine assists in just 24 appearances across all competitions this season.