Michael Carrick knows Manchester United must not allow Chelsea to open up a five-point advantage at the summit when they travel to Stamford Bridge next Sunday.
The Red Devils bounced back from their disappointing defeat to Liverpool at Anfield with a 2-0 success over Blackburn to remain on the heels of the Premier League leaders.
England midfielder Carrick believes that in the wake of their Merseyside reverse and early-season shock at Burnley there is less room to manoeuvre if Sir Alex Ferguson's side are to secure an unprecedented fourth successive title.
Carlo Ancelotti's Blues have suffered setbacks of their own, with away defeats at Wigan and Aston Villa ensuring the Premier League table is tightly packed ahead of Sunday's showdown, live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1.
"It is always a big game at Stamford Bridge, no matter what the occasion is," Carrick said.
"When it is tight at the top like it is, after the defeat to Liverpool we do not want to lose track on the big teams and it will be an important game for us.
"At this stage of the season it is just about accumulating points and seeing where you are in the later stages.
"The table is changing week in, week out but after Christmas things tend to settle down a bit.
"Then maybe you get one or two that pull away - and hopefully we will be included in that. You've just got to believe in yourself and if you do, anything can happen."
Prior to the Chelsea clash, United will tackle CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, and they will go into the match boosted by their victory over Rovers.
Dimitar Berbatov opening the scoring in the 55th minute with a superb turn and shot before Wayne Rooney sealed the victory in the closing stages with a neat finish from Anderson's cross.
Carrick added: "We always believe we can create a chance that we can score from. Thankfully Berba did that with a terrific finish.
"It was a tremendous volley. We have seen him do it before and hopefully we will see him do it many times again.
"That is what he is all about, he uses his quality in the final third and he maybe could have had one or two more."