Man of the match Gabriel Agbonlahor praised Aston Villa’s team ethic as Martin O’Neill’s side secured a 1-0 win over Manchester United in another intriguing twist to the Barclays Premier League title race.
Villa survived a late onslaught to claim their first Old Trafford win since 1983 and inflict United’s fourth loss of the season.
Needing victory to move level at the top with Chelsea, Agbonlahor’s first-half effort instead left United three points adrift.
Villa are now in third, as they added the Red Devils to the scalps of Chelsea and Liverpool which have already been collected in another fine campaign.
“Previous seasons we’ve come here and gone in front they’ve come back and beaten us,” Agbonlahor told ESPN.
“We’re keeping clean sheets, so it’s down to the defence.
“We worked hard for each other out there, all 11 players defending for the team and got the result.”
Captain Richard Dunne, who joined Villa from City last summer, was thrilled.
“I think we deserved it,” he said.
“We don’t know any other way to play, we like to get it down and try and attack.
“Second half, as much as we like to attack, there was too much defending to be done.
“It was quite difficult but it was another performance where we can be pleased with ourselves.”
United boss Alex Ferguson was magnanimous in defeat, which came in the same week his injury-plagued side won 5-1 at Wolfsburg in the Champions League.
“Second half I think we deserved something,” Ferguson told ESPN.
“There wasn’t much in it first half, they probably just shaded it and deserved the goal.
“Second half we pummelled them, had a lot of good chances and didn’t get any.
“It’s just one of those days it wasn’t going in.”
Ferguson was aggrieved, once again, at the lack of stoppage time and believes time-keeping should no longer be the referee’s responsibility.
“You get to the point on adding time on, it should be taken out of the referee’s hands,” he said.
“There were two stoppages of two minutes three seconds and we played three minutes (stoppage time).”
Ferguson does not believe the defeat, coming after Chelsea drew 3-3 with Everton this afternoon, hampers United’s title chances too greatly.
He added: “It’s not an easy league. I say that time and time again.
“If we get to January within touching distance of the leaders then we’re in with a great chance.”