Out in Japan, as the squad prepare to mount a serious assault on bringing the World Club Cup back to London, our interim manager has shared his thoughts with the media.
Rafa, looking to win this competition for the second time, the first being with Inter Milan, has remarked,
"I agree that neither United nor City look unbeatable or a team that is going to run away with the championship."
"I`ve been asked if it`s a two horse race, but realistically, if you win two or three in arrow you have more confidence."
"If we win against Corinthians, it will be an important boost for everyone. If we play good football and they have more confidence, with the quality we have and the balance we are improving on the field, the team can win games in a row easily."
"I`ve not told the players here, yet, that we can win the league."
"If we win here, it will make a difference."
"I can see in their faces they have belief. If we can win do against Villa what we have done here, at the same level, it will start building that confidence."
Do you agree with Rafa or are we too far off the pace to become the first side since the 1930`s to change a manager in mid-season and still go on to claim that top-flight title?