Ashley Young believes a 2-0 victory over Blackburn on Monday could be 'massive' in Manchester United's season, with the Red Devils edging clear at the top.
Young was among the goals at Ewood Park as United left it late before wrapping up a win which means they now hold a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City.
Patience was the order of the day in the Red Devils' latest outing, with efforts from Young and Antonio Valencia arriving in the last 10 minutes of the game.
United are now firm favourites to defend their Premier League crown, with Sir Alex Ferguson's side aware that they have margin for error heading down the home straight - should they need it.
"I think this was a massive game for us. We knew if we won we would go five points clear," Young told Sky Sports.
"It was a great result, a great performance."
The win was United's seventh league success on the spin as they have fully cashed in on City's struggles to take charge of the title race.
Next up for United is a home date with Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, a side who moved out of the drop zone at the expense of Blackburn following Monday's result, before City meet Arsenal later that day.
"It's crucial time in season. Everyone knows that," said Young, who admits Valencia's opener at Ewood Park came as something of a relief.
"To get that goal, we knew it would come at some point, whether it was a shot or cross it went in the back of the net."
Valencia capped another impressive performance with a memorable goal, with his viscous effort from a tight angle leaving Paul Robinson with no chance, but asked whether it was a cross or shot, he joked: "It was 50-50."