Rafa: It isn´t make-or-break for us

Benitez said: “Everything is not perfect but we are improving and it is important that we continue in that way against United.

“I do not like to think in terms of ‘if we lose we can’t win the title’. I prefer to think of what will happen if we do win, if we can win there we can change the way we think about the future.

“We are not thinking of losing, only that we have confidence that we can win.

“This league is always a long race, and the most important thing for me is to see the players focused right to the end. To the end of each game and to the end of the season.

“As for the title race, I believe at the end of the season we will see maybe three or four clubs closer together than last season. I do not believe it will be like that again with one club so far ahead.”

Benitez added: “If you want to win titles, you must beat the top sides. We are very aware of how big this game is for our fans and it is one of the games we know we have to be able to win to compete at the top level.

“Playing Manchester United is always hard, and their form at the moment suggests it will be no different this time. They key is that they are winning, and they have more confidence because of that.

“We have to change things for our own sakes. We must win away in the league and we will then see a different level of confidence in our team also.

“We know how important it is for us to beat Everton, and the same applies to Manchester United, a game against one of the very top sides in the country.

“As for the title, we know we must keep going, keep working and doing our best. Nothing else concerns me.”