The home side hit the lead just after the half-four mark when skipper Nemanja Vidic headed home a floated Nani cross and it took United another 50-odd minutes to grind down a plucky Spurs outfit.
Furious scenes erupted when Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes placed the ball down, believeing it to be a dead situation, but Nani slipped and snuck it into the back of the net – the goal being allowed by referee Mark Clattenburg.
The win put United on 20 points but did not alter their third position on the table whilst Tottenham reamined fifht despite the loss.
Edwin van der Sar (gk), Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Rafael (Brown 64’), Nani, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Park Ji-sung, Javier Hernandez (Obertan 87’), Dimitar Berbatov (Scholes 64’)
Heurelho Gomes (gk), William Gallas, Alan Hutton, Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart (Crouch 77’), Jermaine Jenas (Palacios 66’), Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric, Robbie Keane (Pavlyuchenko 62’)