Manchester United cannot afford to drop any more points against the so-called 'lesser teams' in the Barclays Premier League if the club is to realise its ambition of retaining the title this year, says Nani.

The 25-year-old Portuguese winger admits that United's New Year's Eve defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford was something of a shock, and has urged his teammates to bounce back when they travel to the Sports Direct Arena to face Newcastle tonight.

The 3-2 loss at the hands of Steve Kean's relegation-strugglers meant that the Red Devils sacrificed their opportunity to end 2011 on top of the pile, but Nani is confident that United have the quality to overhaul their city rivals come the end of the season.

"If we want to fight for the Premier League title, it's impossible to repeat a defeat like the one against Blackburn," he said. "Things like that could decide the title at the end of the season.

"It was a negative day. But I think it represents a lesson for us and now we must not fail. It left a bitter taste in the dressing room.

"Now we have to bounce back against Newcastle. It won't be easy but we are the champions and this squad is always out to win."

Manchester City's 3-0 victory over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium last night has once again given Roberto Mancini's men the impetus, as United now sit three points behind the leaders.

"If we were to go top of the league it would be a big blow to City because many people wrote us off after the 6-1 at Old Trafford," added Nani.

"United have enough pride to still go on and win the league - we cannot afford to fail."

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