United pushed for the equaliser in the latter stages, but Spurs held on to secure a vital three points in the context of their season.
Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two sides.
On targe 8
On target 6
Was the result fair?
In my opinion, no it wasn't. There is no doubt that Spurs controlled the opening half of football and rightly entered the break ahead. But it was all United in the second period and on another day they would have scored six. I am not suggesting that United did enough to win, but a point apiece would have been just about right.
Manchester United's performance
6/10. Talk about a game of two halves. Their first-half performance was as poor as I have ever seen them and their defensive problems were clearly shown. They improved in the second period when Wayne Rooney entered the frame, but they just could not force the equaliser. It could prove to be a costly defeat for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
Tottenham Hotspur's performance
7/10. Spurs did just what needed to be done to beat United at Old Trafford. They grabbed an early goal before securing a decisive two-goal lead. Truth be told, they were not interested in attacking in the second period and on another day they would have lost. They just have such a threat on the break in the shape of Aaron Lennon and Bale.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Moussa Dembele: The Belgian went missing for periods in the second period, but he was just wonderful in the opening half. United were reportedly interested; they should have signed him.
Biggest gaffe of the match
Chris Foy let the match flow in the correct areas, but he should have awarded United at least two penalties. That said, he largely went unnoticed, which is always a good sign for a referee.
Manchester United: United return to Champions League duty against Cluj on Wednesday before travelling to Newcastle United in the Premier League next weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs return to European action against Panathinaikos on Thursday before hosting Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.