MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, April 24, 2011 (AFP) - Sir Alex Ferguson urged caution as Manchester United kept their Premier League title charge firmly on course.
A hard-fought 1-0 win over Everton on Saturday, United's 13th successive home league success this season, left Ferguson's leaders just two wins away from a record 19th domestic title.
Javier Hernandez's goal piled the pressure on second placed Chelsea, who remain six points behind despite their win against West Ham, and gave United a huge boost ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Schalke in Germany.
Yet Fergsuon, who is chasing his 12th Premier League triumph, was careful not to get too carried away.
"We need to keep our heads down," Ferguson said. "There's only four games left now and the way we're going about our business gives us an outstanding chance.
"Does my team feel like champions to me? Yeah. There's a winning attitude about them and a determination. You can test characters with these qualities. They refuse to give in."
United can seal the title in front of their own fans against Chelsea on May 8 if they win at Arsenal on May 1.
"It puzzles me that people keep saying that we've still got to play Arsenal and Chelsea as if we're going to lose them," added Ferguson.
"Why can't we win these games? Why should people say that we can't beat Chelsea at home or go to the Emirates and win? As I said to the players, forget all that rubbish and just win your games."
Ferguson, who rested defender Nemanja Vidic against Everton and started with Patrice Evra on the substitutes bench, reported no fresh injury worries ahead of next week's game with Schalke.
He praised the impact Hernandez has made in his debut season in England after taking his tally for the campaign to 19 since joining from Mexican side Guadalajara.
"We didn't expect that so soon," said Ferguson. "We thought it would take a year for him to get properly settled, but he has adapted to English football very quickly.
"He is in for training evey day at nine o'clock in the morning and he's last to leave. This boy is truly dedicated."
Everton felt they should have had a second half penalty when Victor Anichebe went sprawling after a nudge by Rio Ferdinand but referee Peter Walton waved away their shouts.
And Jack Rodwell showed why Manchester United are monitoring his progress as the young Everton midfielder forced a great 69th minute save from Edwin Van der Sar with a low 20-yard drive which took a slight deflection.
But after Everton defender Sylvain Distin almost put through his own net, United took a huge stride towards the title when Hernandez headed in from close range from Antonio Valencia's cross in the 83rd minute.
Everton manager David Moyes believes United are heading for the title.
"For long periods we held a really good team who look as though they might go on and become champions," he said.
"We came up against a really strong Manchester United side. They put us under a lot of pressure but we defended great.
"The players did a brilliant job considering the players we had available.
"We had to work really hard to stay in the game. I actually thought we had just weatherd it. We were beginning to see if we maybe could try and get a goal.
"That's what happens when you open up. If you make a mistake against Manchester United here, you'll get punished for it."