Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Manchester City's shock defeat at Saints last night prompted him to scrap his selection plans and go full tilt for the Premier League title.
The move paid dividends as first-half goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie proved enough to see off a dogged Everton outfit at Old Trafford.
United are now 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League and even though it may take some of the edge from his players ahead of Wednesday's mouthwatering Champions League duel with Real Madrid, Ferguson believes it was worth the U-turn.
"As soon as I saw the result at Southampton I thought this was an opportunity for us to get a real comfortable lead," said Ferguson. "I scrapped the changes I originally planned to make.
"I was going to make about seven changes but it was about being realistic.
"We knew if we could get a result then it put us in a fantastic position and we can make changes later on in the season."