Manchester United moved 12 points clear with just 12 games to go after Fergie went back on plans to rest his stars ahead of the crunch Champions League meeting with Real Madrid.

Manchester City’s defeat at Southampton on Saturday meant United had the chance to move 12 points clear of the champions.

So Fergie wheeled out the big guns and goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie gave United a comfortable win over Everton.

Fergie said: “As soon as I saw that result at Southampton, I thought this was an opportunity for us to get a real comfortable lead.

“So the changes I planned, I scrapped and ended up making four changes. I was going to make seven. We knew if we got a result it would put us in a fantastic position.”

Yet Fergie stopped short of saying the title will return to Old Trafford and said: “Look at the next game and win the next game.

“It doesn’t matter what happened to City. That is the way we should look at it. Concentrate on our games and we’ll be OK.”