Ashley Young has warned the rest of the Barclays Premier League that Manchester United are showing the spirit of champions once again.
The Red Devils moved up to within striking distance of the top four following a hard-earned 1-0 win at Norwich, where substitute Danny Welbeck made the most of a somewhat fortunate opening at the start of the second half when a ricocheted clearance sent him clear though on goal to kill off what had been a determined challenge from the home side.
It was a fourth straight Premier League win for David Moyes’ rejuvenated team, who are also into the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup and last 16 of the Champions League.
England forward Young insists the whole club remains focused on the ultimate goal of retaining their crown come May.
“It is more the character and the team spirit we have got, to bounce back from defeats and disappointing performances,” the 28-year-old said.
“We show that resilience, that strength in depth in the squad, that team spirit – we have got all that off the field, so when you take that onto the field, you win games and we have shown that in the past few performances.
“I keep talking about the momentum we are building. As long as we keep playing the way we have, we will keep building that up.”
Young continued: “If you were to ask anybody around the club, no-one would have ever said we were out of the title race.
“We have to just keep winning games. Our momentum is building now and we have to keep playing as we have done to take those chances which will see us back up the table.
“We have another tough game coming up on New Year’s Day against Tottenham, but, hopefully, if we can continue to play the way we have been doing, then we can get another three points.”
Moyes made five changes from the 3-2 win at Hull on Boxing Day, with forward Wayne Rooney rested because of a groin problem as Javier Hernandez led the attack while midfielder Michael Carrick came in for a first start since mid-November.
The United boss accepted Norwich had given his side a stern test during the opening 45 minutes, which saw David De Gea save well from full-back Russell Martin and forward Gary Hooper, while Wes Hoolahan’s goalbound shot was blocked by Jonny Evans.
“In the first 10 minutes, I thought we did well, but then we lost our way a little bit,” Moyes said.
“I thought when Danny Welbeck came on, he made a massive difference and gave us something slightly different.”
Rooney is expected to be available for next week’s game against Spurs, while Moyes also revealed striker Robin van Persie was close to a return from his injury lay-off.
“We have needed the squad. We have a big squad here and a good squad,” Moyes said on MUTV.
“If you are going to win games away from home then you are going to need them to do their job, and we are going to need them in the coming games as well.”
Moyes feels his team have the confidence required to lift themselves and make up their lost ground over the remainder of the campaign.
“We have to keep moving on and believing that we are going to catch the teams above us, we have to believe that we are going to go out and win the games,” the Scot added.
“We look more likely to score goals and it looks as if we are creating more. The players are getting the bit between their teeth again and I think they are generally doing much better.”