Dimitar Berbatov admitted the introduction of Ryan Giggs proved pivotal in Manchester United jumping into the Barclays Premier League's top spot.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side were always on top at Stoke on Saturday, yet until the evergreen Giggs replaced Nani 10 minutes after half-time, they were struggling to get the breakthrough. Giggs' cool head changed all that as United went on to record a 2-0 victory.
"The game changed when Ryan came on," said Berbatov. "You can see because of the number of years he has been able to play for Manchester United how much he helps by being on the pitch. He makes the right decisions. That is what got us the three points."
First he drifted into space, which allowed Darren Fletcher to find him inside the penalty area with a killer pass. Then he was aware enough to present the on-rushing Berbatov with a tap-in by rolling over an inviting cross.
If that was not enough, Giggs also provided the cross John O'Shea turned home; the perfect way to mark his 350th United appearance.
Berbatov may be a relative newcomer to the Red Devils squad but he is acutely aware of the influence Giggs and fellow old stager Paul Scholes have.
A strangely subdued Stoke outfit never got to grips with Scholes in central midfield and, once the maddeningly inconsistent Nani was relieved of his duties, there was only going to be one winner.
"We outclassed them," said Berbatov, whose words were brutal but true.
And, even though the Bulgarian was delighted with his second goal of the season, he is not getting carried away.
"The most important thing is for the team to win, not for me to score," he said. "If we win 1-0, I don't care if the goalkeeper scores. I just want to stay at the top of the table and continue winning."
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