At the end of a title-winning season you tend to look back at one game in particular and say “that was a pivotal moment”.
Last season I reckon it was on Boxing Day at Stoke. United were still jet-lagged from the Club World Cup in Japan and a trip to the Britannia Stadium is not what you need in those circumstances.
As ever at the Britannia that day, it was freezing at the coldest ground in the country and there was an almighty aerial bombardment from the first whistle to the last. But somehow United dug in, withstood the hostility and aggression and pinched a 1-0 victory.
That result sparked a winning run that ultimately won us the title. If we do win an historic fourth consecutive title this year, I think we’ll look back on Saturday’s victory at Molineux as being similarly crucial.
Once again it was bitterly cold, the pitch was uneven and not conducive to good football, and Wolves favoured the direct approach. United dug in, battled hard and picked up a priceless three points.
And how fitting that Paul Scholes got the winner with his 100th Premier League goal. If I’d scored 100 league goals, I would have done a lap of honour and told everyone how great I was. Not Scholesy. I interviewed him after the game and he was so humble. Personal accolades seem to mean very little to the great man.
Rio Ferdinand paid a warm tribute to him and it’s clear that he is hugely respected in the dressing room.
It was also great to see Ferdinand and Vidic back together again in the heart of the defence. Remarkably it was the first time for almost 18 months that the Champions League-winning back five of van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra had played together – an illustration of just how bad United’s defensive injury problems have been.