Sir Alex Ferguson believes just 82 points could be enough to secure the Premier League title this season.
Manchester United beat Liverpool to the crown with 90 points last season, and are in the hunt once again this term as they bid to land a record 19th top tier title.
United, who triumphed with 83 points in 2003, were forced to up their game after the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea in 2004 raised the bar of consistency needed to become champions.
Mourinho guided the Blues to the title with a staggering 95 points in 2005, and the winning tally has been in that region ever since.
However, with Chelsea, Arsenal and United having lost three, four and five times respectively in the league already this season, Ferguson believes the required total will be significantly less.
"It could be the lowest points total for a while, possibly as low as 82," he said.
"There may be a change in that but I don't see it because it is such a tough league. In any event, we are going to have to put our foot down."
United can move ahead of Arsenal at the top of the table on Saturday with victory over Hull with title rivals Chelsea and the Gunners otherwise occupied in the FA Cup this weekend.
Arsene Wenger's men have emerged as genuine contenders after striking up a fine run of form, despite being written off after a 3-0 drubbing at home to Chelsea in November.
Ferguson is taking their title credentials seriously and with the top sides due to meet each other in the coming weeks, the United boss is wary of their threat.
"Arsenal themselves said it was a difficult time for them after they lost to Chelsea. They were well beaten that particular day," he said.
"But they have proved that when teams start to win games, that consistency can get you back to the top of the league.
"They will feel they are in with a great chance now and with the games coming up over the next few weeks, it is going to be interesting."
Striker Mame Biram Diouf has given Ferguson a new option up front after the Senegalese striker was finally granted a work permit to play this month, and he scored on his home debut against Burnley last week.
The 22-year-old has made a decent impression since his arrival from Molde, and his midweek reserve hat-tick against Sunderland has not gone unnoticed with his manager.
"The boy has done very well," said Ferguson of Diouf.
"His training performances have been very good and he is showing a real sharpness in front of goal, which is not a bad thing when you are bringing someone in at this time of year.
"He may just be a real winner for us."