Shinji Kagawa scored a splendid hat-trick as Manchester United defeated Norwich City 4-0 to move 15 points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League table.
Kagawa's first goals since the defeat to Tottenham in September illuminated proceedings at Old Trafford and Wayne Rooney added a sensational fourth in the final minute with a long-range special.
After scoring in first-half injury time, the Japan schemer produced two of the calmest finishes you are ever likely to see before Rooney wrapped up a convincing win against the Canaries, who inflicted the Reds' last defeat at league level in November.
With Manchester City not in action until Monday, the Reds can enjoy a sizeable lead at the summit whilst beginning to prepare for the visit of Real Madrid.
Sir Alex Ferguson fielded a strong side despite the European tie with Real looming large on Tuesday but a slow-paced start offered some encouragement to the visitors and Bradley Johnson made a hash of his cross after finding a lot of space out wide.
Although Javier Garrido hacked away when Nemanja Vidic met a Robin van Persie free-kick with a header, the first real sight of goal came after 15 minutes when a slick move saw Rooney attempt to find van Persie but Mark Bunn was out to save bravely at the Dutchman's feet.
The first shot on target was a tame one, 10 minutes later, with Michael Carrick's harmless daisy-cutter rolling through to Bunn, and it was only around the half-hour mark that the Reds started to click into gear. To their