Terry, speaking at the launch of an endorsement for King of Shaves, said: "I would have expected United to have started a bit better but a lot of clubs have bought really well over the summer. Five points is a hell of a gap to have this early on.

"It's going to be difficult for United. Maybe they're missing that spark, especially with Rooney and Ronaldo out. They're a great counter-attacking team, always dangerous, but they're missing those two. What's encouraging for me is that we've got this gap and we haven't been playing at our best. By all accounts United should have beaten Portsmouth away but they only picked up a point. Pompey deserved something against us on Saturday but they got nothing. That shows our quality. Over the course of a season, it's not possible to play pretty football every week and do everything right. There are going to be times when you have to win the battle first."