Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. REUTERS

Mark Lawrenson believes Premier League champions Manchester United have been harshly judged this season.

Despite crashing out of the Champions League, Manchester United have maintained the pace on their bitter rivals City in the league and have done so whilst negotiating a crippling injury list that was recently lengthened by Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher's enforced absence.

Manchester United are notoriously ruthless at this time of year and the aforementioned Match of the Day pundit believes Sir Alex Ferguson's side have a habit of clicking into gear when it matters most.

Although their exit from Europe's premier competition was a huge shock given Manchester United's recent record in the tournament, Lawrenson intimates they have made a superb start to their title defence and it is only because of City's superior points tally, that Ferguson's side do not get the credit they deserve.

Manchester United travel to Fulham on Wednesday night and Lawrenson believes the Red Devils' championship experience will prove crucial during the busy festive period.

"Manchester United are now in a mind-set where they want blood." The former defender told the BBC. "Going into this phase of fixtures, it's just about winning.

"It doesn't matter how they play, Sir Alex Ferguson will just want the three points from each of their games in the next two weeks."

Manchester United continue to be hampered by a host of absentees but Lawrenson believes Ferguson has the ability to see them through the next few weeks and claims the Red Devils deserve more credit for the way they have gone about their business this season.

"Despite having loads of injuries at the moment, they just get on with it as they know it's part and parcel of the Premier League." Lawrenson said of Manchester United. "Their record is outstanding but it's been overlooked because City's is even better. The Red Devils are not getting the praise they deserve."

Manchester United are currently in second place, just two points behind the bookies' favourites Manchester City.