Captain John Terry's goal in the 76th minute gave Chelsea its 11th win in a row at Stamford Bridge in all matches -- equaling a club record.
"We know we have to stay focussed for the next matches," said first-year Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. "We beat a very good team today and the match was in the balance for 90 minutes. It's a long season though and, although we got three points today, there are a lot of tough matches to come. It is not just between Chelsea and Manchester United for the title either. If Arsenal keep on winning, they will obviously do very well too."
United manager Alex Ferguson questioned referee Martin Atkinson's call that led to the free kick Terry scored on and Atkinson's failure to call a Chelsea foul on the goal.
"Clearly, Darren Fletcher has won the ball," said Ferguson. "He's never touched Ashley Cole, who just jumped up in the air, and then [Didier] Drogba has pulled [Wes] Brown to the ground at the goal. The referee's position to make a decision there was absolutely ridiculous. He can't see it. There was a Chelsea player standing right in front of him and he doesn't even move. It was a bad decision, but what can you do?"
But back to his own team ... "We've dominated the game," Ferguson added, "had great chances to win the match and that's our fault we didn't take them."
Rooney's all-around game again impressed but he failed to convert three good chances.