Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United are ready to pile the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea after sweeping to a 3-0 victory over Newcastle at St James' Park.
Early goals from defenders Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra plus a stunning late strike from England midfielder Tom Cleverley were enough to secure a deserved victory for Ferguson's side on Sunday.
It means United climb above defending champions Manchester City on goal difference, four points behind leaders Chelsea as the Premier League goes into the international break.
After two league defeats in the early stages of the campaign cast doubt on their title credentials, this emphatic display had Ferguson in upbeat mood.
"That's the best we've played this season, especially the first 20 minutes. But I wouldn't have had any money on either of Patrice or Jonny scoring!" he said.
"We were really on top of our game in terms of concentration and determination - all the things you want to see. There is pressure even at this stage of the season and you don't want to fall too far behind.
"If we hadn't won today we'd have been seven points behind Chelsea so it's an important win."
Rooney happy with form
Wayne Rooney was instrumental in the win, sending over the corners that produced United's first two goals, and the England forward said: "It is a huge result. This is probably one of the hardest games of the season, but we came here, defended brilliantly and scored three goals so overall we fully deserved the victory.
"Our focus was the key. Certainly in the first six games of the season, we haven't defended well enough.
"That isn't just the back four, that's the whole team. Today we were brilliant. Newcastle are a big team, a physical team and we knew we had to defend our box really well.
"We managed to do that and score three goals. There was a focus about us and we need to continue to do that for the rest of the season if we're going to be successful."
Rooney remains without a goal so far this season, in part down to a lengthy injury lay-off. He added: "I'm not at all anxious (about scoring my first goal), we've got players who can score goals for us other than myself.
"I'm not concerned, if it comes, it comes. As long as we're winning I'm not really concerned about that."