Aaron Hughes has warned his Aston Villa team-mates to beware a wounded Manchester United tomorrow afternoon.
The Villa defender is one of just two players in David O'Leary's squad who have experienced a Premiership win against United (Eirik Bakke being the other).
He has also been on the wrong end of more than one hiding and, in the wake of the criticism thrown at Sir Alex Ferguson's side since their Champions League exit last week, Hughes points to Unit-ed's 4-0 demolition of Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night as proof of what can happen when a beast is roused.
"I think it was Wigan manager Paul Jewell who said that the people making those sort of comments about United don't know too much about football," said Hughes. "United's performance against Wigan proved that.
"The best way to respond to comments is just to ram it back down people's throats.
"I know that from my time at Newcastle, when we sometimes went through the odd sticky patch and the only way to shut people up is what you do on the pitch.
"It happens at all the big clubs nowadays. If they haven't done so well for one or two games, people start pointing the finger but you only have to look at United and the players they've got.
"This year, there's a lot of surprises in the Premiership
but when you come up against United, Arsenal or Chelsea, you know one mis-take can prove crucial.
"We took a couple of absolute hammerings off them when I was at Newcastle. One of them was at home when, in the first half, we kept it quite tight, but the second half was one of the best displays I've ever seen.
"They looked a really great side that day but they'll always be a great side because they can still attract the best players in the world; Rooney, Scholes, Giggs. They can hurt you from so many different places.
"With all his experience, Fergie still knows what the game is all about."
Hughes is aware that, if United win, they can close to within six points of Chelsea, prior to the Premiership lead-ers' crucial Sunday date at Arsenal.
But, with a patient smile, he said: "That's not actually what we'll be thinking about on Saturday. "We've now gone four games unbeaten, three of them away from home and that's given us a bit of confidence for the United game and all we're worried about is getting in that top half."
Where Hughes will play tomorrow is still to be confirmed in the wake of Villa skipper Olof Mellberg's withdrawal from contention with a hamstring tear.
Mark Delaney will come in for only his third Premiership start of the season and his first since the Liverpool game
a month ago but, while he is expected to be a straight swap for Mellberg, O'Leary does have the option of playing the Welshman in his more customary role of right-back and switching Hughes across.
"I'd have preferred to give Mark Delaney a bit more time," said O'Leary. "I'm bringing him in before I want to, but I have no other choice."
"Losing Ollie is a big blow," said Hughes. "He's the club captain, the centre of defence, a big player but it happens and you just get on with it.
"You can't feel sorry for yourselves and worry about the players who aren't playing. You worry about the ones that are and deal with it as best as you can. We just hope we don't pick up any more injuries over Christmas."
At least, in the wake of a season of perpetual injury troubles, there are two pieces of good news for O'Leary in his midfield department.
Patrik Berger has been told he will not need knee surgery following his trip to Colorado to see world-renowned specialist Dr Richard Steadman.
Meanwhile, Steven Davis is just days away from being tied up on the lucrative, long-term deal that Villa chairman Doug Ellis has arranged to put him out of reach of the potential vultures at the top end of the Premiership table.
"The player wants to sign," said O'Leary. "He's looking for more money - quite rightly so - and has told me he wants his agent to meet with the chairman and conclude the deal on Monday."