Sir Alex Ferguson felt Ryan Giggs' extra bit of intelligence was the difference for table-topping Manchester United at Stoke.
United were struggling to turn their overwhelming dominance into goals at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon until Giggs replaced Nani 10 minutes into the second half and the improvement was instant. First Giggs provided record signing Dimitar Berbatov with a tap-in before curling over a free-kick that allowed John O'Shea to mark his 350th Red Devils appearance with a goal as he guided a header into the far corner.
"Ryan is important," said Ferguson. "He made the goals. I felt his intelligence would give them a bit of bother on that side of the pitch. Nani did pretty well but Ryan gives you something else."
He added: "He has the intelligence to take up good positions. For the first goal he went on a lovely run behind their defence and the second was an excellent free-kick."
In truth, there could have been few smoother victories for the visitors.
Indeed, the only moment of concern came when Paul Scholes appeared to handle Liam Lawrence's cross after already being booked.
Not that Ferguson felt the former England star - a clear man of the match in the view of Stoke boss Tony Pulis - was in danger of being sent off for the second time this season.
"I didn't think it was handball but it would have been an injustice if he had been sent off because he was wrongly booked in the first place," said the United boss.
"He only made two tackles but Paul is an easy target for referees."
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