Rio Ferdinand is relieved to see Manchester United in a position of supremacy with nine games left in the Premier League season - and believes they will remain there come May.
Manchester City had boasted a five point lead over their local rivals not so long ago, but United propelled themselves four points clear at the summit of the table with victory over Wolves last weekend.
City reduced the deficit to a solitary point after beating Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, but Ferdinand knows where he would rather be as the season edges towards its conclusion.
"We're in the position at the minute that we want to be," he told Sky Sports News.
"We want to be top at this stage of the season, but more importantly we want to remain there until the end of the season.
"I think this is a vital period, each game is a must-win game. At the moment, if we win all of our remaining games until the end of the season, we will be champions. That's what we're going out to do."
City will have the opportunity to reclaim to position when they take on Stoke on Saturday, with United not scheduled to face Fulham until Monday night.
The two sides must still meet each other before the season's end, and City will host United in late April in an encounter that is likely to decide the destination of the Premier League trophy this term.