The title comes first, records can wait, says Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand

The veteran defender has given little thought to the prospect of setting a new Premier League points record, and insists the Red Devils’ only concern is securing the title
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is adamant that setting a points record this season comes second on the agenda to winning the Premier League.

The league leaders have a comfortable 15-point cushion over nearest rivals Manchester City, with the two sides set to clash on Monday night.

But Ferdinand is refusing to get ahead of himself and will only look towards the points record once the club have secured a 20th top-flight title.

"It is just about winning. Anything that comes after that is great, but winning it is the most important part," the 34-year-old told PA Sport.

"If you win the league before the end of the season then you can set other targets. For me, personally, we need to get the trophy first, then you can think of all the other stuff that goes on around it."

Ferdinand dismissed the notion that United were being spurred on by a desire to avenge year’s dramatic finale, with City claiming the title with the final kick of the season, and believes that it is the club’s natural mindset to want to win.

"We are not any more hungry because of what happened last season," the centre-back continued.

"That is just the way we are. The mentality of this club, driven by the manager, is that you have to win and you have to be challenging for every single competition you go in for. That has been the case since I have been here. That will never change.

"This club, the manager, the management team he has behind him, and the players and the fans demand that."

Ferdinand also praised United’s new-found defensive strength, and believes their recent record – which has heralded a run of six consecutive clean sheets – has enabled them to tighten their stranglehold on the title.

"We feel more solid as a team," Ferdinand added.

"At the beginning of the season we were playing open, expansive football, which I am sure was good for the fans to watch but, being a defender, my first instinct is to defend and keep clean sheets. We weren't able to do that.

"We addressed it. That is the most pleasing point. Now we are benefitting from it."