Striker warns rivals that United will hit top form despite having extremely tough fixtures ahead
Wayne Rooney is confident Manchester United will start to hit top form now they can spot where the season ends. United embarked on a tough sequence of fixtures, which even manager Alex Ferguson admits will determine their hopes of landing silverware this term, by recording an excellent win at Arsenal on Sunday.
Sharp shooter: Wayne Rooney in action during an EPL game. Pic/Getty Images
Now they head to Rooney's native Merseyside to face Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday lunchtime knowing the Reds must also visit Old Trafford in the Premier League, with trips to Chelsea and Tottenham either side.
Already trailing leaders Manchester City by three points, it is a tough ask of Ferguson's men just to stay in contention.
However, now in his seventh season with United, Rooney has been around long enough to know it is also the time of year when the Red Devils tend to reach their peak.
"We relish this part of the season," he said. "Once we get into the new year we can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Every game is massive and we don't want to be dropping points.
"But I always feel we are at our best around now because we can see the end of the season and that there are trophies there to be won. That's why we stay focussed and, more often than not, we're always there at the end."
If there is an advantage for United, it is they are in the middle of an unusual period of playing just one match a week over a three-week period.
Providing they do not draw at Anfield, that will become four out of five -- they host Stoke next Tuesday -- which Rooney feels could turn out to be a massive benefit for a squad that have been battling such a lengthy injury list for so long.
Tough road ahead for Manchester United *Jan 28: Liverpool vs Manchester United (FA Cup) *Jan 31: Manchester United vs Stoke City (EPL) *Feb 5: Chelsea vs Manchester United (EPL) *Feb 11: Manchester United vs Liverpool (EPL) *Feb 26: Norwich vs Manchester United (EPL) *Mar 4: Tottenham vs Manchester United (EPL)