DAVID MOYES won himself some breathing space after Manchester United hammered Bayer Leverkusen and took the pain out of Champions League knock-out phase qualification.
In practical terms, Manchester United's comprehensive win over the Germans sent them comfortably into the knock-out phase with a game to spare.
A draw in the final game of the group phase on December 10 against Shaktar Donetsk will be enough for Moyes to top the group.
But it was more than that for Moyes. It was a win which stands alongside any of the most comprehensive achieved away from home by Alex Ferguson.
It gives Moyes reason to believe that he is making some progress and wins breathing space to focus on gathering points in the Premier League secure in the knowledge that the Champions League battle is won for the moment.
"It was one of my best days as Manchester United manager but the best days are still to come," he said. "We won well and played well, with some outstanding performances.
"Bayer Leverkusen have a great record here so to come here and win 5-0 puts it into perspective as well."
Best of all for Moyes is the fact that Wayne Rooney, a player he was forced to defend before the game because of his aggressive streak, was the architect in chief of some fine, skilful work and four of the five goals.
Rooney's form has been improving since the season started, but is Moyes worried about the workload he has had to shoulder?
"Wayne does not need a rest just now but I will be watching for any sign he does," said Moyes.
"We need people in form and fit, so I want to keep him as fresh as I can.
"He is one of those players who is probably better playing, but I don't want to find myself losing him for five or six games somewhere in the season.
"I said at the start of the season that sometimes Wayne might have to play up front and Shinji in behind when Robin [van Persie] is injured.
"I thought Shinji played really well, he was excellent, but he has been excellent when he's played off the left as well. We have some really good players."
Kagawa's eye-catching performance was another positive note on a good night for Moyes who took time to heap more praise on evergreen Ryan Giggs, who turns 40 tomorrow but remains a real option at the top level.
"People mention his age but all you should talk about is his fooball ability," said Moyes.
"He is an unbelievable footballer – and you could say he is getting better. His vision and pass for Nani's goal were fantastic."
The amazing possibility that Giggs might prolong his playing career for one more season is now real and Moyes will wait for the man himself to tell him when he's ready to quit.
"He is a wonderful player and I am really fortunate to be working with him," said Moyes.
"He will tell us when he has enough, or when he thinks his time is up. But his performances since I came have been excellent."