Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says last night's victory over Stoke City was significant in the title race. While Manchester City lost 1-0 at Everton, United beat Stoke 2-0 at Old Trafford to reel in the Blues and draw level on 54 points at the top of the table.

"It's a good night for us, of course," Sir Alex told MUTV moments after the final whistle had blown at Goodison Park.

"But what I'm most pleased about is our own performance. I thought our football was terrific. We kept our composure, we were very patient. Okay, we won with two penalty kicks but I think the manner in which we played our football was the most important thing.

"It's still early doors [in terms of the title race]. It's only the last day in January. I always say that March is a very important month, as well as the beginning of April. We play Manchester City in April, for instance."

There's a long way to go before that, and next on the Reds' agenda is a trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday 5 February. It's a match for which Sir Alex hopes he'll be able to recall a trio of players who missed the Stoke run-out on Tuesday night.

"We're hopeful Wayne Rooney, Nani and possibly Ashley Young will be fit for Sunday," he said.