Rio Ferdinand says the win over Arsenal was a "big result" but he says it's not a season-defining triumph.
The Reds moved to the top of the Barclays Premier League table on Monday night - and boast a game spare compared with the other runners and riders for this year's title. But Ferdinand says this result needs to be the first in a consistent run of results against the top teams.
Conveniently, United can prove an improved status in the big-stakes clashes when the Reds travel to West London this Sunday to face reigning champions Chelsea.
"It's a big result," said Rio after the deserved 1-0 win over the Gunners. "It's not a defining result for the season, but it's a big result. It's against one of the teams that are at the top of the table. Last year we probably didn't do as well as we should against the top teams. This is a good way to start."
United produced a good all-round performance, of which Ferdinand is proud. "I thought we did well," he said. "We pressured them high up the pitch. One of the main things that we wanted to do was to go out and make sure we got in their faces and put pressure on them, not give them time on the ball.
"With a team like Arsenal, if you give them time on the ball then they will hurt you because they have got quality players all over the park. We tried not to give them time."
Defensively United were excellent on Monday night, but Rio says that has to come with the territory. "To win titles you've got to be on top form all the time, not just defending as a back four and the goalkeeper. It's the team. I always say that. Whatever happens in a game, we score together and we concede together. If we're defending from the front then we're a hard team to beat."
A month ago United were 2-0 down against Aston Villa and trailing the leading pack in the league. Now United are in a very commanding position. But Rio isn't too surprised. "When I look around the changing room, we've got a fantastic bunch of players. I'll never doubt us or what we are capable of. If we concentrate and focus on doing the right things, we're a difficult team to play against."