Second half strikes from Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney were enough to overcome the resistance of a stubborn Blackburn Rovers side, and take United back to within two points of league leaders Chelsea.
The visitors erected two banks of defensive bodies throughout the match, but Berbatov's swivelling volley early in the second half and Rooney's clinical half-volley negated a string of earlier missed chances.
Before the break, Berbatov had a goal chalked off for a narrow offside offside, twice fired off-target when well placed, and was also denied by a superb save from visiting goalkeeper Paul Robinson. He finally got his goal, however, when he controlled Patrice Evra's errant shot, turned and rifled a volley past the motionless Robinson. Rooney later met Anderson's cross with a superb left-footed half-volley to make the points safe.
The two goals were the outstanding moments of class in a subdued early evening encounter. Substitute Gabriel Obertan, making his Premier League debut, passed up two late chances to add gloss to the scoreline, but there were few nerves as United closed the game out in almost total comfort.
The game begin at a pedestrian pace, and 13 minutes had passed before the first chance of note arrived for either side. Antonio Valencia, who again caught the eye, latched onto Berbatov's pass through the centre, but could only fire wide as he swivelled to shoot.
Blackburn's limited ambition was apparent from the off, with Franco di Santo ploughing a lone furrow manfully, but without any success. El-Hadji Diouf had the closest semblance of a chance for the visitors, but John O'Shea superbly slid in to deny the Senegalese wide-man a shooting chance.
As the half wore on, United increasingly found answers to the questions posed by the visitors' steadfast