Sir Alex Ferguson believes the combination of 'a bit of luck' and Manchester United's steely determination led to their triumph over Tottenham on Sunday.
A first-half header from Wayne Rooney against the run of play and a brace from England team-mate Ashley Young in the second period handed United a 3-1 win and took them back to within two points of Manchester City with 11 games left in the Premier League campaign.
The win also widened the gap between United and third-placed Spurs to 11 points, all-but ending the Londoners' faint title hopes as Jermain Defoe's late consolation was as good as it got for them.
Emmanuel Adebayor also had a first-half goal disallowed with the scoreline goalless, for a handball after the ball struck him while standing virtually on the goalline.
Ferguson felt his team rode their luck but believes their determination to win despite not playing at their best underlined their credentials to defend the title.
He told Sky Sports: "It was a great performance by Tottenham and maybe we got our tactics wrong in the first half.
"In the second half we improved, we told them at half-time to get pushed up on their back four and not let them build up their play. After the second goal we played very well.
"We had a bit of luck, and we scored right on half-time with our first shot on goal.
"We've played all the big teams since January, it was a really busy spell and we've come through that and played well in most of the games. We showed a determination to get the result, the goalkeeper (David De Gea) made a fantastic save in the second half.
"Tottenham are a very good team and this is only their second defeat at home since the start of the season. It was a massive result and a massive performance from our defenders."
The Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 30th looks ever more like the title decider, and Ferguson added: "We know exactly what we have to do.
"You can drop surprise points and I think both sides will, but the important thing is to drop less points than our opponents. A battling performance today tells you that we are up for it."