Michael Carrick has revealed the key to Manchester United's repeated ability to drag points from the most unpromising of situations is never to stop believing.
Struggling with 11 men, United's hopes of victory against Bolton at Old Trafford on Saturday appeared to have disappeared when they were reduced to 10 following the dismissal of Jonny Evans 15 minutes from time.
Yet they not only managed to survive allowing Matthew Taylor a free header which should have been converted, United went on to collect maximum points thanks to Dimitar Berbatov's 21st goal of the season.
At the same time, nearest rivals Arsenal were dropping two points at West Brom to hand the title initiative back to the Red Devils heading into an international break that has come at just the right time for Sir Alex Ferguson and his men.
"You have to keep believing and trusting each other," said Carrick.
"Experience helps because we have done it a few times before.
"Going into the last five minutes you keep telling each other to be patient and that a chance will come. Then it is about putting it away."
Berbatov was the right man at the right time, scoring his 21st goal of the season but his first since January 25, since when he has started only four out of United's 12 matches.
That statistic is explained partly by the improved form of Wayne Rooney but also the continuing impact of Javier Hernandez, the man Ferguson "sacrificed" at half-time after it became apparent Wes Brown could not continue, leaving the hosts short of height to combat Bolton's significant aerial threat.
"Dimitar is doing very well," said United assistant boss Mike Phelan.
"He has done everything we have asked of him and is working hard.
"It is never easy to come off the bench. But he kept his focus and got us the goal."
Phelan was thrust into the role of pitch-side director as Ferguson began his five-match touchline ban.
The wisdom of accepting a guilty verdict on Thursday and asking for the suspension to begin immediately was shown by the ease with which Ferguson was able to communicate with the bench by telephone from his seat in the directors' box.
It is an advantage he will not have when United head to West Ham in a fortnight, or face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on April 16.
Phelan does not see the ban as a particularly big issue, anyway.
"To be perfectly truthful all you do is react to what is going on in the game," he said.
"The work has been done and the players know exactly what is expected of them. The communication was good but we know exactly what each other is thinking anyway."
Ferguson made a point of stressing how well his side have come through a testing period of five games, which started badly with successive defeats at Chelsea and Liverpool, but ended so well, with progress on three fronts.
In addition, there was the unexplained presence of Douglas Costa in the directors' box.
United officials were unable to shed any light on why the 20-year-old Brazilian was present, although Costa was surrounded by enough advisors to suggest he had not merely excused himself from duty with Shakhtar Donetsk to watch the team so heavily linked with him a couple of years ago because he fancied a day out.
Any signing cannot come until the summer of course.
In the meantime United must hope Brown's fresh injury and the three-match suspension Jonny Evans will now serve for his challenge on Stuart Holden will be negated by the return of skipper Nemanja Vidic and full-back Rafael ahead of the West Ham trip.
That game is followed immediately by the first leg of United's all-England Champions League quarter-final with Chelsea.
It is a packed programme. But Carrick is not complaining, even if he would prefer not to be deployed as an emergency central defender again.
"It is not ideal playing centre-back but I have no problems with it if that is what's required," said the England midfielder.
"At the start of the season we set out to try and ensure every game would be big at this stage.
"We wanted to be involved in all the competitions and we have achieved that, which shows we are doing something right.
"It is hard to say how significant this day will be at this point in the season but it does feel like a big result."