Nemanja Matic has warned Manchester United that they cannot afford too many repeats of their 2-2 draw at Stoke if they are to land the Premier League title.
The Red Devils have enjoyed a positive opening to the 2017-18 campaign and continue to top the table on the back of an unbeaten start.
Jose Mourinho’s side did, however, drop points for the first time on Saturday as they were held by the Potters at the bet365 Stadium.
United trailed at one stage – as their run of clean sheets was ended – but also led before the hour mark and two-time champion Matic admits that they need to see out such contests if they are to emerge victorious in May.
The £40 million summer signing from Chelsea told MUTV: "It was a tough game.
"To be honest, it's always a tough game when you come to this stadium. Stoke are a good team, so it was difficult, but we managed to get a point.
"If we want to be champions, we have to win games like this because in these games, if you win, you are champion. We have to know against teams like this you have to have a little bit more, you have to be concentrated and of course we’re not happy with a point.
"It's always important if you can come from behind, and I think we showed spirit. We had the lead in the second half but they scored a goal from the corner kick. We didn’t take some chances at the other end, so we could have won the game.
"It's always important to be at the top of the table if you can. I'm happy that we are still there, and we'll continue to work hard to stay there until the end of the season."
While left frustrated by the stalemate, Matic was eager to take positives from the contest.
The 29-year-old believes the blossoming partnership between Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku is certainly among those for United, with both forwards on target again to take their collective goal tally for the season to six.
"Yeah, it's great to see them score again and they are very important players for us," added Matic.
"I hope they'll continue to play well; the season has really only just started and we have many games until the end, so I am hopeful that they can continue to do well.
"My team-mates have helped me to become a part of the team very quickly and I'll work hard to help them too. We want to win titles this season and I'm happy that I'm part of this great club."
United’s next domestic outing will see them welcome record goalscorer Wayne Rooney back to Old Trafford with Everton, but before that they will open their Champions League campaign with a home date against Basel on Tuesday.