Gary Neville has admitted Manchester City are 'major challengers' for Premier League glory this season.
Roberto Mancini's men were tipped as potential dark horses for the title before the start of the campaign following a summer of heavy spending in the transfer market.
And while they have not been in spectacular form, City are currently second in the table after picking up one more point from seven games than Manchester United.
United right-back Neville believes City must be considered a serious threat for the first time in many years.
"Last weekend's results mean we are now behind Manchester City in the league, which hasn't happened too often in the past 20 years," he told the Sunday Times of Malta.
"There is no doubt that we have to see City as major challengers this season along with Chelsea.
"At the moment, City and Chelsea are above us and the money that City have spent, and the quality and depth in both squads, means we have to see them both as rivals for the title."
United resume their quest for supremacy against West Brom at Old Trafford next Saturday, but it is away from home that Neville is targeting improvement.
A run of four draws on the road has hit United's hopes and Neville hopes those dropped points will not prove decisive.
"In games when we miss chances or we are on top and we get a draw then we are disappointed, but we didn't deserve anything more than a draw in the Sunderland game," he said.
"There is obviously some concern about our away form because we have played four and drawn four.
"The difference between getting one point and three is significant - it is the difference between us being sat alongside Chelsea at the top of the league and being five points behind.
"We can't have any complaints about drawing 0-0 at Sunderland, but against Everton, Bolton and Fulham we could and should have done better."