The Blues kept their Champions League qualification hopes well and truly alive with a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford today with Benitez suggesting Sir Alex Ferguson's men may have been in cruise control after securing their 20th league title.
"When the goal came we were really pleased and convinced it was an important step forward," said the Spaniard.
"Obviously United, after winning the title, normally you can expect they are a little bit more relaxed.
"My team talk at half-time was trying to increase the tempo because I could see we were controlling, doing well but were still missing the high tempo that is necessary if you want to beat a team like United.
"I think we did it in the second half. It still wasn't perfect but enough for winning the game."