Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was just about to take Carlos Tevez off when the South American supplied Dimitar Berbatov for Manchester United's last-minute winner at Bolton.
Despite completing almost two full games without hitting the net, Wayne Rooney's first-minute strike against Wigan on Wednesday and Berbatov's last-gasp header at the Reebok Stadium mean United top the Barclays Premier League table for the first time this season.
"It is a new tactic," he joked. "Get someone stripped on the touchline and see what happens."
Ferguson added: "I was ready to take Carlos off and then he makes a goal.
"Danny Welbeck is a big lad and I just felt he might get us a goal from a cross. I am always prepared to gamble."
In the end, Ferguson didn't need to as Berbatov provided another substantial repayment on his club record £30.75million transfer fee.
United have now won five successive games since they returned from the Club World Cup, four of them by a single goal. At the same time, they have closed a seven point gap on Liverpool and now lead Rafael Benitez's men by one themselves having, until Monday, played the same amount of games.
"Being top is not decisive at this stage but it is always nice because it is the best place to be," said Ferguson.
"We have been playing catch-up in terms of fixtures for a while now. We still have another game in hand against Fulham on February 14.
"Only after that will we have a good idea of where we stand between Liverpool, Chelsea and ourselves."
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