Sir Alex Ferguson gave a Premier League debut to Shinji Kagawa, and also brought Robin van Persie off the bench with 20 minutes remaining, but a Marouane Fellaini strike on 57 minutes decided the fixture in the favour of the hosts.
David Moyes hailed the impact on his Belgian midfielder after the victory, and was delighted with the result.
“Fellaini was excellent tonight but we know he’s capable of that,” the Scottish boss told Sky Sports.
“He can play in that position, he can play in the centre of the park. He’s a really talented footballer.
“It was hard for them. Manchester United, you have to remember, were without some central defenders tonight. But I did think Fellaini caused them problems.
“Manchester United are a big threat. If you lose concentration for a minute or turn off, they’re liable to punish you.
“But I thought we defended really well when we had to tonight, and I think we caused them some problems when we had the ball.
“I thought Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, all the defenders, did a great job in making sure we didn’t concede a goal,” he concluded.
By Gareth McKnight