Defence continues to be the best form of attack for Manchester United as a 1-0 win against Wigan ensured a ninth successive Premier League clean sheet and allowed them to move within two points of leaders Liverpool.

Wayne Rooney's first-minute tap-in was enough to beat the Latics, who just about edged the remainder of the contest without being able to break down a stubborn United rearguard.

There was a cost to the Red Devils as Rooney is now facing a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury that forced him off not long after his ninth goal of the season.

When Rooney tapped home Cristiano Ronaldo`s cross from three yards, the clock was still to reach 60 seconds.

Unfortunately for Rooney, his meaningful contribution was nearly done as it was not long afterwards that he limped to the sidelines gingerly nursing a hamstring injury that triggered his immediate departure and Carlos Tevez's introduction.

It might not have been the way he wished but Rooney's absence, for however long it may be, offers the South American the opportunity he has been craving virtually all season.

Wigan began to force the pace in the second half. Amr Zaki emerged as more of a threat and if the rebound from a shot by the Egyptian had bounced more kindly towards Ryan Taylor, the Latics might well have been level before Maynor Figueroa and Antonio Valencia threatened the home goal.

In fairness, the hosts should have had a penalty when Ronaldo's angled drive struck Lee Cattermole.

Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov both fired just wide as a measure of their usual attacking invention returned to United ranks, although it was Wigan who finished on top, leaving Steve Bruce to reflect on what might have been.

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