Rooney’s goal, his 21st league goal of the season, came after Jonnny Evans at the back post, had steered Ashley Young’s cross back into Rooney’s path.
This was not a vintage display by United by any means. They had tons of possession but never really turned that possession into clear cut scoring chances.
Evra went close in the 32nd minute with an overhead kick which flashed narrowly wide and in the second half Schwarzer made a good save to deny Valencia, and Gighs had a shot blocked on the line by Hangeland. But that was about all the chances United created, which considering the amount of possession they had is really poor.
United will have to play better than this if they are to stay ahead of City. But with their next four games against teams in the bottom six, United have a chance to put the title race to bed before the big game at the Ethiad next month.
After the match United boss Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports that the tense victory over Fulham was a “great game” for the champions because it will act as a warning for the remainder of the run-in.
“The matches are all challenges,” he told Sky Sports. “That’s a great indication. It was a great game for us tonight because that’s exactly what it’s going to be like for the rest of the season. Teams are going to be battling and fighting, trying to survive, and not be lambs to the slaughter to Manchester United because they don’t want to be seen to be laying down.
“Fulham put in a massive effort tonight. They’re a very experienced team and were very difficult to break down. When you sit back, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got 11 plumbers, joiners or footballers, it’s hard to break down. We did enough to finish the game off but didn’t do it and nearly paid the penalty.”