Manchester United needed a a Lewis Dunk own goal to secure a 1-0 win over a courageous Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Seagulls held their own until the 66th minute when Ashley Young’s strike took a huge deflection off the defender and looped over goalkeeper Matt Ryan.
The Red Devils are now unbeaten in a club-record 39 home matches, but Chris Hughton’s side arrived with the intention of taking the game to the hosts.
After Romelu Lukaku had blazed over an early shot when well placed on the edge of the box, the Seagulls had the better of the opening half an hour.
Anthony Knockaert was particularly lively down the Brighton left and often got the better of Young without finding the right delivery for Glenn Murray.
Brighton were dangerous on the break but struggled to create opportunities against a defence which has conceded only one home league goal this season.
Similarly, the hosts struggled to break down Albion until a double chance in first-half stoppage time when Lukaku’s header forced a good save from Matt Ryan, who blocked Paul Pogba’s follow-up with his legs.
United nulified Brighton’s counter-attacking threat in the second half and started to push the visitors back, but they needed some good fortune to open the scoring.
A corner, which should have been a goal kick after Solly March knocked the ball onto Marcus Rashford, was cleared to Young whose left-footed shot took a big nick off Dunk and dropped underneath the crossbar.
Brighton did not deserve to lose in such an unfortunate manner but they could not find a reponse as cross after cross went into the United box without anybody getting on the end of it.
David de Gea was largely untested throughout, but the rest of his teammates were made to work hard to close out three points which lift United to within five of leaders Manchester City.