MANCHESTER, England - Alex Ferguson admitted his selection gamble had paid off after Manchester United moved 12 points clear at the top of the English Premier League with a 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday.
With United facing a tricky Champions League last 16 first leg tie at Real Madrid on Wednesday, Ferguson originally planned to make seven changes in a bid to keep his key players fresh for the trip to Spain. But when Ferguson saw that second-placed Manchester City had suffered a shock defeat at Southampton on Saturday, he changed his mind and sent out a full-strength line-up.
Ferguson's decision to go for the kill paid off handsomely as first half goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie left United with one hand on the trophy with 12 games to play.
"I was going to make about seven changes to the game but when I saw yesterday's result I changed that because we knew if we got a result it would put us in a fantastic position," Ferguson said. "We've got to win our games regardless of what happens with City and if we concentrate on our own games we'll be OK."
Meanwhile, Charles N'Zogbia inspired Aston Villa to a crucial 2-1 win over West Ham as the Premier League strugglers climbed out of the relegation zone on Sunday.