Antonio Valencia believes the crushing blow of an early UEFA Champions League exit has provided Manchester United's impetus for a sustained assault on the Premier League title.
United were dumped out of Europe's elite club competition with an embarrassing defeat against Swiss side Basel earlier this month.
But it has provided Sir Alex Ferguson's men with a renewed sense of purpose in their domestic campaign.
Since the humiliating 6-1 thrashing by rivals Manchester City, United have secured eight wins in their last nine league games - including successive 5-0 wins against Fulham and Wigan.
It means only goal difference now separates the two clubs as the race for the title intensifies.
Winger Valencia, who scored in Boxing Day's 5-0 win over Wigan, said: "The biggest blow was the Champions League because we are a big club and we are expected to be fighting to win the competition, not just qualifying from the group stages.
"We reached the final last year and it hurts to go out so early.
"But we are using that hurt. The group now tries even harder in training and we are going into games with a determined attitude because we've got to win something, whether it is the Premier League, Europa League or FA Cup.
"We have to make sure we are involved in those trophies and we have a renewed focus."