A controversial late goal from Nani and a first-half header by Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic ensured a 2-1 win which meant Tottenham's 21-year wait for victory at Old Trafford continued.
United captain Vidic opened the scoring after 31 pulsating minutes before Nani reacted quickest to some goalmouth confusion to prod home five minutes from time.
Spurs, who have not won at the ground since 1989, were furious with referee Mark Clattenburg for allowing the second, scored after goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes placed what he believed to be a dead ball.
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