Football: Moyes wants faltering Manchester United to narrow focus

Manchester United's manager David Moyes walks from the pitch after the end of their Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013. Moyes wants United to clear their minds of title talk as they look to a
Manchester United's manager David Moyes walks from the pitch after the end of their Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013. Moyes wants United to clear their minds of title talk as they look to avoid losing three successive Premier League games for the first time since 2001. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

BIRMINGHAM (AFP) - Manager David Moyes wants Manchester United to clear their minds of title talk as they look to avoid losing three successive Premier League games for the first time since 2001.

United travel to Aston Villa on Sunday for a league fixture that they have not lost since 1995, but with the champions already 13 points behind leaders Arsenal, their grip on the title is weakening.

However, Moyes believes that discussing the possibility of closing the gap and winning a 21st league title has to stop until they get back in the mix with the other contenders.

"The gap is bigger than we would like it to be," he said. "We would like to be closer. We can only do one game at a time. Let's look at it later on next year and let us see if we can answer the question better then.

"This club expected to win all the games. That is the fact and that is why if you lose one or two then things get said. I knew that was the situation before I got the job, I understand that.

"There are a lot of games we can get points in, but we need to go and do it, not talk about it. We need to make sure it happens on the field."

United will be without striker Robin van Persie, who has been ruled out for a month with a thigh strain.

Moyes described the absence of last season's top goalscorer as a "big blow" and he is also expected to be without Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic.