Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed the idea Manchester United's English Premier League title rivals would gain a significant advantage if they got dumped out of Europe.
Ferguson is virtually certain the only realistic challengers to his side this season are Manchester City and Sunday's (3.00am Monday AEDT) opponent Chelsea.
Yet, whilst United continues to march on purposefully in the UEFA Champions League, City and Chelsea both have a problem.
Indeed, City seems certain to tumble through the exit door after collecting just one point from its opening three games.
Chelsea has done a bit better.
However, its defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday means it only has a point advantage over Juventus as it clings to second spot.
Whilst clearly a blow to its pride, not participating in the Champions League would surely have a beneficial effect in keeping legs fresh for Premier League battles.
Ferguson does not think so.
"It is never a good thing to lose a game of football," said the United boss.
"If you are knocked out of the Champions League it would not be a good thing. If you were knocked out of
"We are better when we are playing in all the competitions. I much prefer that."
Indeed, it could be argued that United would be in no better position in the Premier League than City is in
Already four points behind
It is a failing that has already condemned them to two defeats this season, whilst Chelsea has only dropped two points.
"We don't want a gap to open," said Ferguson. "This could be a league where you will suffer if you lose bad ones.
"We couldn't afford to lose the Tottenham one the way we did. If we get any more of that we will be in trouble.
"There are lot of big games still to come of course and I think it will be close.
"But Chelsea, City and ourselves are creating that little gap from the rest and whilst I cannot be dead certain, I would be surprised if one of us didn't win it.
"Chelsea are undefeated, which gives you an idea of the level of consistency they have produced."
As half-way through his answer Ferguson seemed to become aware of the route he might be heading down, the United boss truncated his response to how much Chelsea will miss its captain.
So much has been said about the racism row that engulfed both clubs it has largely been overlooked exactly half of the games
It is a loss though, and one Ferguson will be doubtless looking to exploit given the strength of his own attack.
"Terry is a loss because he has been such a dominating figure," he said.
"He is the captain and has so much experience at the back.
"He can be a ruthless defender and a lot of the time, his presence alone was the most important thing.
"You always miss a player like that."
Terry has been on duty in eight of the 10 Premier League matches the two sides have played at Stamford Bridge since United last won there.
Interestingly, the two he missed were both amongst the four draws United has managed during a frustrating decade, including last season's 3-3 draw.
"They have had a terrific record against us since even before I came down here," he said.
"When we beat them in
"Even when (
"And now they have people who have been at the club for a number of years like Terry, (
"It gives them stability, and continuity, with that kind of experience, must help the dressing room."
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will bid an emotional farewell to his trophy-laden career as Paul Scholes, Michael Owen and Jamie Carragher do the same as the EPL season wraps up.