Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney star as Manchester United win at Stoke
England's Wayne Rooney played in a midfield role as Manchester United edged closer to the Premier League title with a 2-0 victory at Stoke City.
And the win was set up by a goal from his international teammate Michael Carrick.
Carrick opened the scoring after only four minutes, prodding the ball home following an early corner, before a Robin van Persie penalty sealed victory.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said Rooney's performance gave him a boost of confidence.
"I thought he looked very confident, he needs a little boost in his confidence.
"He is like any other player that doesn't hit the heights that people expect, or that he sets for himself, he needs a little confidence boost."
The result leaves United a step closer to winning the title with Ferguson adding: "I have told the players that we are going to take the next six games as the start of the season and try to win them all.
"Would we fancy ourselves to win that league? I think we would. We are a game closer - the important thing is not to take our eye off the ball."
United's team also featured England's Phil Jones, while Danny Welbeck came off the bench in the second half.
Up in the North East, Sunderland stunned their Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United - who had recent England call-up Steven Taylor in the back four - with a 3-0 away win, including a stunning goal from Adam Johnson.
It was Sunderland's first victory at St. James' Park in 13 years - and their first three points under new manager Paolo Di Canio.
Stephane Sessegnon's first-half goal was followed up by strikes by Johnson - who curled home a superb shot - and David Vaughan's late third.
In The FA Cup with Budweiser Semi-Final at Wembley, Gareth Barry and James Milner starred for Manchester City as they beat Chelsea 2-1.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart was left on the bench, though, as Costel Pantilimon was again handed an opportunity between the sticks.