Sir Alex Ferguson feels his Manchester United players need only take a look at what has happened to Barcelona in La Liga to see how quickly their fortunes could be transformed this season.
United head to Newcastle on Wednesday in a seemingly impregnable position at the Premier League summit. The Red Devils would have to lose four times for Chelsea and Liverpool to stand a chance of overhauling them, which seems unlikely given they have only been defeated twice in league combat so far this term.
It is only a matter of weeks, however, since Barcelona were in a similar position but now the gap to Real Madrid is down to four and Ferguson said: "Barcelona have been playing Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday since January. They did have an 11-point lead, now it is four and for the first time this season they lost a game after being in front."
He added: "It is a warning, and there are plenty of them, that if you take your foot off the pedal you can get a kick in the teeth."
Yet it is easy to see why so many pundits are virtually handing United the title now.
Liverpool seem to be in disarray, while Chelsea have struggled for consistency all year and are still adjusting to life under Guus Hiddink.
Yet Ferguson finds it easy to remain focused and, while he detects no sign among his younger players that a 'job done' feeling exists in the United dressing room, he is pretty sure his more experienced campaigners would stamp it out if it did emerge.
"They would have one attempt at being complacent and it would be the last," said Ferguson of his youth brigade.
"We have plenty of bodies in the dressing room who would come down on them."
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