Edwin van der Sar is pleased with Manchester United's nine-point lead over Chelsea and says the gauntlet has been thrown down.
The Red Devils extended their Premiership advantage this weekend after beating Fulham, while rivals Chelsea were scooping Carling Cup silverware against Arsenal.
The Dutch shot-stopper believes their Cottagers scalp proves they are determined and resolute in their quest to bring back the Premiership title to Old Trafford.
"These are games that decide if you are going to be champions or let Chelsea back in the game," said Van der Sar.
"We have got individual quality with the players we have and, if you perform as a team that extra quality comes around sooner or later in a game.
"A nine-point lead is nice. Chelsea have a game in hand but they have to win it. The more points you can get between each other is nice."
Van der Sar was at fault for Fulham's opener, netted by Brian McBride, and the experienced Dutch ace is looking to eradicate individual mistakes.
"Sometimes you have a good game but I made a mistake with the first goal and then saved one or two," he added.
"It's a team effort of course and we have to make sure it doesn't happen too much in future."