Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson wants his players to realise what an advantage they have in the league race.

The current nine-point gap at the top of the table is convincing evidence of United's focus on domestic duties, and the challenge Sir Alex is conveying to his players is of capitalising on the current situation.

"You hope that the players realise that the league is there for them [to win]," he told Inside United.

"It's obviously a big challenge and we've got the FA Cup and the Champions League as well, and managing the squad is going to be important when it comes to picking the right teams. That's down to myself and the staff.

"It's always an important time. The players have shown great appetite for it - they showed that against Tottenham in the way they fought like hell to get a result and were unlucky it went against them at the end. But we're definitely in the right shape."