The oft-used football cliche take each game as it comes is the maxim of any title-chasing side. And although Paul Scholes says it’s imperative you stay focused on your next challenge, he admits it’s difficult not to mull over potential pitfalls in the fixture list, or watching United’s title rivals willing them to stumble.

Like Ryan Giggs and Edwin van der Sar, 33-year-old Scholes has invaluable know-how at this stage of the season. With just two points separating United and league leaders Arsenal (Bolton on Wednesday is United’s game in hand) and Chelsea chasing hard in third, he says it’s impossible not to follow every twist and turn.

“Whether or not it’s right to do, you look at games coming up,” he told Red View . “You have to focus on one game at a time, but you do tend to look ahead. You watch opponents’ matches, too. That’s just the nature of being in a title race. It’s that time of the season where you watch every game hoping your rival drops points.”

Scholes watched anxiously, like most fans, as Arsenal struggled against the grit of Wigan, and the mud of the JJB Stadium turf. “That was a really good result for us,” he said. “I know the pitch was horrendous and Arsenal had just had a really tough game in Milan, but we have to be pleased with the outcome.”

Derby, United’s opponents on Saturday, are in an irrecoverable position at the foot of the Premier League table. But Scholes says there can be no let-up, regardless of the Rams’ plight. “We’ve got the experience to know we must do the business in our games. If we do that, we’ve got a great chance to win the league.”

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