Edwin Van der Sar believes Manchester United have the awareness that separates them from the rest.

The Dutch goalkeeper is confident they can kick on and lift an unprecedented fourth successive title. United will go back to the top on Saturday if they beat Portsmouth at Old Trafford as Chelsea do not play until Sunday against Arsenal.

Van der Sar, 39, knows what it is like to have that winning mentality. "Experience definitely helps," he told www.manutd.com.

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"You've been there before - through narrow escapes and must-win games. You know how to handle them."

 

He added: "The more you go through these situations the better you are at dealing with them.

"There's a moment in your career where it clicks and you think, 'I''ve been in this situation before, I know what to do, I know what to expect'. That comes in handy sometimes."

Van der Sar has made 203 appearances for United since arriving from Fulham at the age of 34.

It is no coincidence that since he returned in January from injury - and his wife's illness - the team have improved.

Injuries and suspensions to defenders Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic meant manager Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to make changes - not that Van der Sar is that concerned with the disruption.

He said: "In general, we tend to coach the same way and to play in the same system. But every player has their own characteristics.

"You have to understand the qualities and the character of your team-mates. Sometimes one defender is quicker than another, or one is better at heading the ball.

"Whoever comes into the defence brings their own personality and style with them. As a goalkeeper you try to make sure everything glues together and you work well."

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Topics:
Football
Edwin Van der Sar
Premier League
Manchester United