Anthony Martial came off the bench to score a late winner for Manchester United against Tottenham.
The French forward, introduced in place of Marcus Rashford midway through the second half, settled a cagey encounter nine minutes from time when he latched on to Romelu Lukaku’s headed flick-on and fired past Hugo Lloris.
Lukaku had hit the post for United just minutes earlier, shortly after Dele Alli had missed an excellent chance to give Spurs the lead.
The win continues United’s 100 per cent Premier League record at Old Trafford, where they have not even conceded a goal.
It also sees Jose Mourinho’s second-placed side move three points clear of Spurs, who remain third, and to within two points of Premier League leaders Manchester City ahead of their trip to West Brom on Saturday afternoon.
While the end may have been exciting, the match was as drab as the weather for much of the afternoon.
United’s bright start proved a false dawn as Rashford’s long-range free-kick was the best they could muster before Spurs settled.
Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko tried their luck at the other end as Phil Jones made some key interventions, before Ashley Young and Alli had a frank exchange of views as the Old Trafford faithful lapped up United’s strong tackles and pressing.
It was Tottenham who looked most likely to open the first-half scoring, with Alli trying his luck before United target Eric Dier improvised to get an acrobatic attempt on David De Gea’s goal.
The rain poured as the teams emerged for the second half – a period United again began brightly.
Crosses were flying into the Spurs box and Lloris could not hold onto a Henrikh Mkhitaryan shot, with Ben Davies’ superb recovery tackle denying Rashford a simple goal.
Antonio Valencia smashed a half-volley just over as United looked for a breakthrough, with both managers making changes in an attempt to swing the game.
The decision to replace Rashford with Martial in the 70th minute was not universally popular but the replacement quickly made an impression.
After failing with an overhead kick, he then showed a nice touch in a move that ended with Lloris tipping away a Lukaku cross-shot.
Valencia was booked for diving as the hosts pushed for a winner, with Spurs struggling to trouble United until Christian Eriksen’s smart clipped pass was met by Alli.
The England international could only turn wide from close range and United reacted.
Lukaku met a superb cross from the right with a powerful header that came back off a post, before United went route one for victory.
De Gea’s long kick was flicked on by Lukaku, with Martial shrugging aside Dier to send a bobbling effort past France team-mate Lloris as Old Trafford erupted.
United shut the game down after the goal, with Mourinho holding a finger to his lips at full-time after silencing some of the doubters.