If defensive questions needed to be asked about that, there was nothing more to do than simply admire Berbatov’s brilliance when he doubled his side’s lead just before the hour.
It was almost impossible to believe it took just two touches to get Nani’s right-wing cross into the net.
But it was precisely that. The first to control with his knee. The second to dispatch an overhead kick which left Pepe Reina rooted to the spot as it bounced in off the crossbar. In any normal season, the contest would have been over.
However, there is a fallibility about United just now that clearly refuses to rectify itself no matter how harsh Ferguson’s words.
The rashness with which Jonny Evans lunged in on Torres as the striker checked back inside the box gave lie to the theory United can operate effectively without Rio Ferdinand, overlooked for the captaincy and missing with a virus.
On the second occasion, John O’Shea could count himself mightily relieved Webb did not reach for the red card once he decided the Irishman had dragged Torres to the ground just outside the box. The consequences of Webb’s ruling would be felt in the eventual outcome.
With both situations though, Gerrard found the corner of United’s goal with precision, racing gleefully to the ecstatic visiting fans the second time around to hail a position he could not have expected his team would be in 10 minutes previously.
It looked like United had blown it. Berbatov had other ideas and rose to meet O’Shea cross to give his side victory.