Ruud van Nistelrooy arrived off the bench after an hour to net a landmark 150th United goal 11 minutes from time which brought the Red Devils a deserved 2-1 win at Bolton and cut Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table to seven points.
Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘I was hoping not to have to bring Ruud on but when we did, we knew exactly what we were going to get.
‘We knew he was going to get a goal for us because he is the best finisher in the game.
‘Great players want to play but this was probably the first time he agreed with me when I left him out.
‘He played his first match in five weeks on Wednesday and having to play Bolton three days afterwards was not the ideal situation for him. Now he has given me something to consider next week.
‘We have asked a question of Chelsea. Everyone expected them to beat Birmingham today and they didn’t. They still have to come to Bolton and they still have to go to Blackburn.
‘There is another massive game for us against Arsenal next week but if we can get by that hurdle, we must have a big chance.
‘We are catching them and we just hope the finishing line doesn’t come too soon.
‘I always say the important thing is how your form is in April. If it is good, you have a big chance. If you start to stutter, you can throw it away.’