Patrice Evra believes Alex Ferguson should "sack everyone" if Manchester United suffer a second successive title race collapse after moving six points clear of Manchester City following Sunday's 3-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
United have been installed as clear favourites to regain the title following their injury-time victory. Having lost an eight-point lead over the final six games of last season to allow City to claim the title on the final day of the campaign, United took a significant stride towards avenging the loss of their crown by ending City's 37-game unbeaten home run at the weekend.
Evra admits that the players would not deserve to represent the club if they fail to take advantage of the gap between themselves and Roberto Mancini's team.
"I think Ferguson is going to sack everyone if we did that," Evra said. "I'm serious – it would not be funny, for the fans, for the players, for everyone.
"I remember what happened last year. We were eight points clear and in the end we lost the league, so a six-point lead means the league is not finished yet. There is a long way to go, but we have to make sure we are ready for Sunderland on Saturday."
City's home and away victories against United in the league last season proved crucial, with the 6-1 win at Old Trafford ultimately giving Mancini's team a decisive advantage on goal difference with the teams finishing the campaign level on points.
Having ended City two-year run without a league defeat at home, Evra insists Sunday's victory was worth more than three points.
"It was more important to win at City and give a sign out to them," Evra said. "We also broke their record at home which was really important.
"Last year we talked a lot about City before the game, but this year we just talked about us. It was about putting pressure on them and making sure we scored.
"I know people criticise us for conceding goals but the most important thing is to win games and that's what we are doing now. We have to defend better but we showed character and when you win like this, it's the Manchester United way."
The platform for United's victory was built by Wayne Rooney, whose brace took him to 10 derby goals, moving him level with former City forwards Francis Lee and Joe Hayes as the most prolific scorer in the fixture, and the England forward said it was satisfying to remind City of United's prowess.
"As players we took a little bit of stick before the game and during the game from the City fans, so it was great to remind them who we are and what we are about," Rooney said.
"It is right up there as my best derby. I thought it was going to end in a draw, but a goal at the end from Robin van Persie meant it was great celebrations from fans, players and coaches."
Van Persie's free-kick winner took his tally for United to 14 goals in 20 games since his summer arrival from Arsenal, and Evra believes the Dutch forward's "humility" and Rooney's big-game mentality are proving to be key factors for the team.
"Robin came here with a lot of humility," Evra added. "He was at Arsenal, but he came here to win trophies.
"When he missed that penalty against Southampton but ended up scoring a hat-trick, after the game he came into the dressing-room to say sorry for the penalty miss. That is the right attitude." (© Daily Telegraph, London)