Rio Ferdinand insists it was compulsory for Manchester United to beat Newcastle on Boxing Day and, as a result, gather momentum ahead of the hectic New Year schedule.
The veteran also played down the significance of the Reds' seven-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League - after Manchester City lost at Sunderland - pointing out recent examples from past campaigns as reasons to maintain perspective.
“We seem to make sure the punters get their money’s worth when they come to the ground at the moment, but it was a great show of character from the lads at the start of a really busy schedule," Rio told MUTV. It was really important to get the win, no matter how we did it.
“The manager has got that never-say-die sprit and it filters down through the club - we take it out on the pitch and reflect that. All the way through the game, we were creating chances and looked like we were on the cusp of scoring goals.
“It was really important to get the win. Their goalkeeper made a couple of good saves and we didn’t finish off a couple of chances that we created, but we have always got confidence in our boys and in the fact that we are going to score.
“When you're conceding goals at any level, you want to stop it. We've let in far too many goals and need to change that. We have to make a big effort to push on from a good position. If we're going to maintain where we are, we have to sort ourselves out.
“A seven point lead means nothing because we’ve been in positions over the years of being eight, nine, ten or even 11 points clear and not gone on to win the title. We’ve also been behind and won it. It’s a great result for us, other results also went for us, but we’ve got more big games coming up.”
One of many talking points from the Boxing Day classic was referee Mike Dean’s decision to overrule his linesman and award a goal to Newcastle, deciding Papiss Cisse had not interfered with Jonny Evans, despite distracting the