Manchester United defender Phil Jones admits their clash with Newcastle United is looming as a must win.

As Manchester City must now back up with a tough trip to Liverpool, for virtually the first time this season, a chink has appeared in their blue armoury.

United can close to two points 24 hours before their rivals head to Merseyside.

Jones knows it is an opportunity that should not be squandered.

"City have done fantastically this season," he said.

"I am not taking anything away from them.

"But they do have some tough games coming up.

"I don't care how good you are, teams can be put under pressure. This is a difficult league to be in.

"It would be nice to reach top spot by Christmas. But it is not essential.

"Don't be writing us off if we are not there by January."