Manchester United favourite Andy Cole has backed his former side to come good in the second half of the season after a topsy-turvy run of results that have seen Sir Alex Ferguson’s side exit the Champions League at the group stages.
United’s 2-1 defeat against Basel last week meant they were dumped out of European football’s premier club competition at the group stages for only the third time in 17 years, while they still trail fierce rivals Manchester City by two points in the Premier League.
However, Cole points to United’s previous resilience in the league that has seen them overcome an indifferent start to the season before powering on to the title, saying he believes they can repeat the trick this season.
"I always look at December and January as being key months in the season." Cole wrote in his column for United Review.
“Easter time is always a period I remember as being a huge part of the campaign as well but, if you can get the right results in December and January, it sets you up for the rest of the season.
"It is important to be in good form at the right time and the time to do that is always in the second half of the campaign.
“There's no point running away with it now. Just look at what happened to Newcastle in 1995/96 - they were 12 points ahead when we went there and, after our victory, we went on a great run, whereas they pretty much capitulated after that."
United were buoyed by City’s defeat at the hands of Chelsea that meant the Red Devils finish the weekend just two points behind their rivals.
However, there was more bad injury news for Ferguson as Darren Fletcher was ruled out indefinitely after a statement revealed he was suffering from ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.
However, Cole believes that despite the mounting injury woes Ferguson faces, the mentality “ingrained” in the club will help them push City all the way.
"I don't know why we've always done well in the second half of the season,” he added.
“I think it's just ingrained in the DNA of the players. They know they have to deliver and that when the New Year comes round, it is time to really focus, get your heads down and kick on."