Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United can take charge of the title race if they reach the New Year in touch with leaders Chelsea.
Goals from Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia completed a 3-0 victory for Ferguson's side over Everton that kept them within five points of Carlo Ancelotti's side.
The United manager declared himself satisfied with his side's performance after criticising his players for failing to make the most of their chances in front of goal in recent games.
And he maintains that if they can reduce the deficit between themselves and Chelsea over the next five weeks, they can step up their title challenge during the second half of the campaign.
"That's name of the game for us," he said. "I have always said, and I stand by it, if we get to New Year and we are a within a point or a point ahead or level then we have a great chance in the second half of the season."
And he added: "I would have taken it before the game. I think the performance was controlled. We showed good patience in the first half which you need to break down teams like Everton.
"When we've got to 2-0 we've not pushed ahead to kill them. We've done that and I'm pleased."
United were set on course for victory by an outstanding strike from Fletcher who volleyed past Tim Howard from the edge of the Everton penalty box.
Ferguson said: "We got the goal at the right time and a great goal by Darren Fletcher, a goal you wouldn't expect him to score. It was a quality finish, he is improving all the time."
Valencia's strike was his fourth for the club since his summer move from Wigan and the United manager believes the Ecuador international is fast developing a goal-threat.
"He is an improving player," the manager added. "You see the performance level each year for the last few years has gone up and up and he is extraordinary like that. It is a goal we didn't expect from him, but we will take it.
"Everyone was talking about the lack of goals from midfield but fortunately we have got two of the midfield players scoring today."
David Moyes conceded his side, some of he claims are under-performing, was well beaten although he felt Everton suffered from a number of refereering decisions.
"At half time I spoke to the fourth official, I mentioned to him that a lot of decisions were going the wrong way," said Moyes.
"I felt that if I said the wrong things then maybe I would get a few decisions coming my way. That's what I told him.
"Manchester United dominated the game, I can't complain. We had maybe a decent spell at 1-0, even at 2-0 we had chances. We didn't do enough. I felt we didn't make chances in the first half with the formation, but in the same way we couldn't contain them. It didn't go to plan."
Everton are struggling with injuries at the moment although the manager refused to use that as an excuse for his side's display.
He said: "It is testing at the moment, we have a level and a standard. I expect more, the supporters expect more. That is disappointing. We are struggling to find any form.
"I hope I haven't bleated about injuries. The players should be wearing the jersey, fighting to wear it. We are patched up at the moment trying to find a winning formula."