Dimitar Berbatov and John O'Shea struck in the second-half to give Manchester United a deserved 2-0 victory over outclassed Stoke.
United were struggling to make their dominance pay until Ryan Giggs' introduction 10 minutes after the break.
The veteran Welshman provided a tap-in for Berbatov before O'Shea celebrated his 350th appearance by nodding home Giggs' curling free-kick.
In both instances, the goalscorer immediately ran to their 35-year-old team-mate to offer their thanks.
Earlier, Nani had blown a pair of chances to set up Wayne Rooney
, and even with the Britannia Stadium at its most raucous, the England striker's bellows of frustration cannot have been missed.
As he stood alone and watched Nani's shot sail high over the crossbar, the in-form England star beat the ground in frustration before delivering a volley of abuse that finally turned to a despairing plea.
If he wants to learn, Nani should have been focused intently on Giggs just after the hour mark when he advanced onto Darren Fletcher's pass then, with no hesitation, rolled a pass straight into the path of Berbatov, who could not miss.
The Bulgarian's acknowledgement as he ran towards his team-mate showed what he felt.
Thirteen minutes from time, O'Shea was racing towards Giggs in similar fashion after he had leapt highest to guide a curling free-kick into the far corner.