Chris Smalling believes Manchester United are still in a 'great position' to reclaim the Premier League crown.
The Red Devils were pipped to top spot by Chelsea last term and the Blues have made a stronger start to the new campaign, currently leading the title race by two points.
United are another point further back in third place after being held to a 2-2 draw by Aston Villa on Saturday.
Smalling admits it was frustrating not to beat Villa even though United trailed 2-0 with only 10 minutes remaining before Federico Macheda and Nemanja Vidic struck.
The result did at least extend United's record of not having lost yet this term, which Smalling hopes will remain the case for as long as possible.
"We've stayed unbeaten and I think that is the main positive to take from the game, but overall we are really disappointed," the defender, called up by England for their friendly against France, told Sky Sports News.
"I think we are still in a great position."
Smalling is confident United will improve as the season progresses and a number of key players return to fitness, saying their rivals should beware.
"Obviously we have got some injuries so we have got a lot of players to come back, but the people who have come in I think have done a great job," he said.
"To still remain unbeaten is a real something to hold onto.
"A lot of teams expect us to be there or thereabouts. We have won the title however many years and we have no doubts that we will be up there and hopefully taking that league back at the end of the season."