Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini reserved special praise for his defenders after the 3-0 derby triumph over rivals United.
City's free-scoring ways have been well documented this term and a goal in each half from Edin Dzeko made the striker the fourth player in their ranks to reach 20 goals in all competitions.
Yaya Toure lashed home a 90th-minute drive to complete a memorable night for the blue half of Manchester and register his 21st strike of a remarkable individual campaign.
But Pellegrini made sure the efforts of his defence, who have now strung together five consecutive league clean sheets, did not go unnoticed.
United struggled against a defence superbly marshalled by talismanic captain Vincent Kompany and the often-maligned Martin Demichelis.
"I am very delighted because I think that we played very well, not only in attacking but also in defending," he said.
"We were a very compact and aggressive team from the beginning.
"I think that we are playing very well. Not only because we are scoring goals - in the last two games we scored eight goals - but also we have improved a lot in defending.
"This is our fifth clean sheet in a row and at the end of the season it is very important to try not to concede goals.
"That is why I am so happy about our performance today because against a very good team with important players we really didn't give any chances to score."
City are now three points behind Chelsea with home matches against Sunderland and Aston Villa in hand on the league leaders.
Pellegrini was aware of the lasting impact closing the gap with such a comprehensive win over the reigning champions might have on City's bid to bring the Premier League trophy back across town.
"It was a good performance - I don't know if it was the best performance because we have played a lot of good games," he said.
"It was important to do it today, here at Old Trafford, because it was one of the games in hand and the only one that we have to play away. So it was important to have three points more."
|Coach: D. Moyes|
for T. Cleverley 46'
for M. Fellaini 66'
for D. Welbeck 76'
|Ba left out of Senegal AFCON squad|
|Redknapp frustrated by penalty call|
|Wenger sees Giroud wrongs|
|Premier League schedule a ´disgrace´, says Poyet|
|Championship Review: Bournemouth stay top, Heskey scores on Bolton debut|
|Hughes lauds Bojan performance|
|Koeman: Saints marching on|
|Pardew rues referee error|
|Arsenal 2 QPR 1: Sublime Alexis secures the spoils|
|Martinez questions Walters decision|
|Poyet laments Sunderland mistakes|
|League One Review: Swindon cruise to win over Walsall|
|Irvine aware of need for improvement|
|United still doing ´very bad things´ - Van Gaal|
|Lambert proud of players despite Swansea defeat|
|Warnock bemoans Palace defence|
|Bruce hails Hull´s spirit|
|Pochettino relieved to come away with victory|
|Dyche: We had our pocket pinched|
|Monk hails Fabianski performance|
|Pearson demands greater concentration from Leicester|
|Kompany set for City return|
|Rodgers hails character after battling win|
|League Two Review: Ainsworth frustrated by Luton, Shrewsbury go top|
|Everton 0 Stoke City 1: Lacklustre Everton slip to defeat|
|Sunderland 1 Hull City 3: Triumphant return for Bruce|
|Burnley 0 Liverpool 1: Sterling wins it at Turf Moor|
|Leicester City 1 Tottenham 2: Eriksen piles misery on Pearson´s men|
|Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1: Rooney extends hosts´ streak|
|West Brom 1 Manchester City 3: Three and easy for in-form champions|
|Swansea City 1 Aston Villa 0: Hosts break Boxing Day duck|
|Crystal Palace 1 Southampton 3: Mane marks return with star performance|
|Allardyce upbeat despite defeat|
|Van Dijk happy at Celtic - Deila|
|Table-topping Chelsea delight Mourinho|
|Chelsea 2 West Ham 0: Mourinho´s men ease to victory|
|Suarez enjoying Messi, Neymar link-up|
|A-League Review: Garcia rescues point for Perth, Adelaide up to second|
|Poyet calls for mid-season break|
|Van Gaal rules out Januzaj move|
|Rodgers: Balotelli may have to get used to bench|
|Lallana: I was trying too hard|
|Walker juggles music, football careers in Sweden|
|Song to face ´brother from another mother´ Fabregas|
|Adriano announces Le Havre deal|
|Pardew braced for Old Trafford test|
|Lescott unfazed by City reunion|
|Tskhadadze appointed Georgia coach|
|United to finish top three - Ferdinand|
|Allardyce: Stamford Bridge stalemate saved my job|
|Southampton need three January signings, says Watson|
|Liverpool can make Champions League, says fanzine editor|
|Walsh: Hull clash crucial for Leicester|
|Toure, Aubameyang and Enyeama make shortlist for African gong|
|Docherty backs Chelsea to win two-horse race|
|Liverpool could benefit from Hyypia influence - Scales|
|Saudi Arabia name Asian Cup squad|
|Forty-year-old Cahill no problem for Postecoglou|