The challenge is now to repeat it with another tricky away trip to take on West Ham at Upton Park on Wednesday night.
Following defeats to Chelsea in the FA Cup sixth round replay and then Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League, United were in need of a win at the Britannia Stadium to ensure no further incentives were handed to Roberto Mancini’s men in the title race.
In blustery conditions against a team renowned for their physicality and a home crowd lauded for its partisan atmosphere, the Reds delivered a composed performance under pressure to gain another valuable three points.
Having had time to reflect on the result, the performance and its potential broader significance, Sir Alex told ManUtd.com: "I always say you don't leave your character in the dressing room and I think we saw that against Stoke.
"The Britannia Stadium is not an easy place to go to and we had this swirling wind in the first half. [But] the performance and the character the players showed was terrific.”
- Sir Alex Ferguson