Rafa Benitez has underlined how hard it is for relegated teams to bounce back at the first time of asking by pointing to the host of teams that are yet to return to the Premier League in the last five years.
Sides like Blackburn, Wolves, Bolton, Reading, Wigan, Cardiff and Fulham have checked out of the top flight and failed to win back their place at English football’s top table in recent years.
And it makes Benitez determined not to join the long list of sides that have become used to life in the EFL.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Brentford, Benitez said: “I have done my research on the teams relegated in the last few years.
“In 2011/12 nobody that got relegated came straight back up. In 2012/13 nobody came straight back up automatically out of the three relegated.
“One (QPR) came up in the play-off and the next season (2014/15) one in the play-off (Norwich).
“After that one came up automatically (Burnley) and one (Hull) in the play-off, so it’s not easy.
“We knew it could be difficult. Maybe we thought it would be easier because we won so many games in a row.
“If you have one or two weeks when you don’t do well, you can lose three games.
“It’s important to stay calm and focus.
“We need to stay strong during the full season but especially at the end when you have so many games.”
Reading’s loss to QPR this week also highlighted how tough the division can be and left United with a six-point cushion in one of the automatic places.
Benitez, though, insisted: “It depends on us. If you we can carry on winning like we did with nine in a row, that’s it.
“But it (Reading’s loss) was proof for me that everything is so difficult and anything can happen.
“In April you have seven games. We still have to go to that month and play a lot of games.
“We’ll see what happens. The reality is that nobody will be back in the Premier League by February.
“We have to fight until the last month.”
Benitez has also checked his team’s stamina this week to make sure nobody is falling below the required level of fitness he expects.
He said: “We done a physical test the other day and the team is fine.
“Everything we can see is that the team are OK. But we have had two bad results.
“I can guarantee we deserved to win but that’s football and we must carry on and be sure we will do the good things we did in the past to continue winning games.
“There’s a lot of games to play and we have to stay calm.
“We have to concentrate and try to work harder if that’s possible.”