Michael Carrick knows Manchester United need to hit the winning trail again once they manage to re-start their campaign.
After successive wins against Hull and Wigan immediately after Christmas, 2010 looked set to start on a positive note for Sir Alex Ferguson's team. Instead, it all went calamitously wrong on Sunday when they were bundled out of the FA Cup by League One Leeds United at Old Trafford.
Following the postponement of Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final with Manchester City at Eastlands, the Red Devils' next task is Birmingham on Saturday, and Carrick knows victory is essential, saying: "This season has been strange with some odd results. But it is a vital time. The manager has stressed that to us."
He added: "Although most of us have been here before he has told us how every game becomes more important."
The extra recovery time should mean Nemanja Vidic is available for the trip to St Andrew's after he tweaked a nerve in his leg during the warm-up for Sunday's defeat and opted to pull out.
That move only fuelled speculation about Vidic's future, even though the defender has always publicly stated his desire to remain at United.
Real Madrid are the latest club to be linked with the Serbian, with the suggestion that the Spanish giants might want to do a deal this month, even though Vidic would be ineligible for the Champions League.
However, Vidic's agent Paolo Fabbri has tried to play down such talk.
"I am quite surprised by all these rumours, the situation is under control and is not unusual," Fabbri told ESPN Soccernet. "As far as I know the player is not negotiating with any other club.
"Regarding the mood of the player, I think it is standard. I have not spoken to him since the last defeat, but as far as I know there is no problem."
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