Sir Alex Ferguson's made it seven wins in a row, and 11 matches unbeaten, by dominating proceedings for large periods of the contest but were thwarted by Cottagers keeper Mark Schwarzer who had a brilliant game with the gloves.
It was a scrappy first half for the most part but United finally edged ahead late in the term when Wayne Rooney slotted his 21st goal of the Premier League campaign. A floating ball from Ashley Young was directed to the back post from the left with Fulham's Brede Hangeland missing his header before the ball deflected off John Arne Riise and into the path of Jonny Evans who screwed it back for Rooney to fire home.
Schwarzer held an early header from Ryan Giggs before Fulham's first chance came in the 24th minute when Clint Dempsey's curler forced an acrobatic save from David de Gea who had to dive full length to his left.
Just after the half-hour mark, Patrice Evra attempted a very agile overhead shot which had Schwarzer scrambling before the Australian came up with a brilliant save early in the second half when Antonio Valencia hammered a bouncing ball goalward from inside the area.
The 53rd minute saw Ashley Young force another top save from Schwarzer with a curling effort from range before the Fulham gloveman continued to keep his side in the match with a couple of brilliant blocks with 15 minutes remaining. First off he denied Young's cracking volley before following up with a low block from the England winger's second attempt prior to Hangeland denying Giggs' effort from the third follow-up in a great escape for the visitors.
In the 89th minute, Fulham had a big call for a late penalty when Michael Carrick clattered into the back of Danny Murphy but referee Michael Oliver waved away the protests as the reigning champions rolled along to keep their noses in front of crosstown rivals Manchester City.
TRIBAL ASKS: Man Utd continue to get the required results as City start to stutter. Is the title remainin at Old Trafford?
Old Trafford, Manchester - 75,570
Yellow cards:MANU - Ryan Giggs 34' FUL - nil