By FOX Sports staff
David De Gea did not cover himself with glory for Southampton's opener after allowing Jay Rodriguez to take the ball past him too easily following a bad back-pass from Michael Carrick.
Wayne Rooney's first-half brace put United in the lead but Sir Alex Ferguson's men had to dig deep to hang on for the win.
United have gone seven points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table as a result of Wednesday's win.
De Gea - 5.5
Should have done better for Southampton's goal. He was neither quick enough nor aggressive enough to the loose ball and he certainly was made to look a bit foolish in the way that Rodriguez was able to take the ball past him. One thing is for sure, he won't be happy at Carrick for putting him in that situation in the first place after a poor back pass.
De Gea, though, does deserve credit for some good saves including one to deny Lambert from a free-kick.
Jones - 7
Jones had an excellent first half - a really good 45 minutes of football. He got forward intelligently and won a lot of free-kicks in the Southampton half for United. He also crossed the ball fairly well when he had the chance as illustrated when he helped present Kagawa with a chance to score - he hit the post instead - early in the match.
Smalling (Off 63') - 6
Did not have an awful game but let's be honest it was pretty average from Smalling. With Southampton dominating the second half, he was bailed out on a few occasions by his central defensive partner Vidic.
Vidic - 8
It's no secret that Manchester United are a much weaker team without Vidic at the back. Against Southampton he reminded us of this fact once again. This was especially the case in the second half when Southampton put United under intense pressure forcing Vidic to come up with some important blocks on goal-bound shots.
Evra - 7.5
It may not be a vintage year for defending at Manchester United but Evra has more than done his part for the team further up the field. His latest effort was a centre-forward's type of header back across goal for Rooney to tap-in to make it 2-1.
Carrick - 5.5
It was his poor back pass which led to Southampton's goal but Carrick also did really well to smuggle the ball away from Lambert in the 32nd minute to deny the visiting striker a clear chance at goal. Overall, Carrick did not have his usual presence in midfield.
Anderson (Off 67') - 6
Practically anonymous and although he did not make any huge mistakes, Sir Alex Ferguson was right to take him off in the 67th minute with Southampton in control of midfield.
Welbeck - 6.5
Had a chance to score late in the first half but was denied by the excellent Boruc in the Southampton goal.
Rooney - 8
Rooney may not be having a Van Persie-type season in terms of the goals to games ratio, but let's give the guy some credit his brace against Southampton means he now has nine goals in his last nine games for United. He also showed some lovely touches - most notably when he set up Kagawa for a good chance late in the first half.
He probably should have had a hat-trick though after failing to make the most of a good through ball in the 80th minute.
Kagawa (Off 73') - 7
It was Kagawa who played a lovely first time ball for Rooney to score United's first goal. The Japan international was unlucky to hit the post after managing to beat Boruc from a tight angle.
Van Persie - 6.5
Van Persie's set piece delivery may have played a big part in United's second goal but overall the Dutchman failed to match the high standards he has set in previous games. His finishing was a bit off against Southampton and when he did get the ball into the back of the net, he was just offside.
Ferdinand (On 63') - 6.5
Sir Alex needed old heads to steady the ship and ensure United came away from the game with all three points. He sent on Ferdinand and the veteran did not disappoint as he came to the rescue on a couple of occasions.
Rafael (On 67') - 6
Picked up an unnecessary booking in the 83rd minute after pulling back Lallana.
Nani (On 73') - 6
Nani can be a game changer off the bench but on this occasion he did little to stem the Southampton tide.
Boruc - 8
The two goals he conceded were not his fault and he made some spectacular saves during the 2-1 defeat at Manchester United. The Southampton goalkeeper's save to deny Van Persie a headed goal from virtually point-back range was world class.
Clyne - 7
His passion to get forward as many times as he can means Clyne tends to be caught out of position by teams that can pass the ball well like Manchester United. However, he deserves credit for getting back quickly to force Rooney onto his left foot when the striker thought he was through on goal. The United talisman would not score.
Yoshida - 7
Yoshida did an excellent job of limiting Manchester United's counter attacks and keeping possession for Southampton when they started to dominate.
Hooiveld - 6
Did OK in the second half but definitely was not as assured in the first period.
Fox (Off 78') - 7
In a surprise move, Southampton coach Mauricio Pochettino picked Fox for the left-back role ahead of the ever-improving prospect Shaw. It didn't prove to be a big mistake as he put in pleny of inviting crosses for team-mates to attack.
Puncheon - 6.5
For all Southampton's dominance in the second half, a killer final ball was missing and Puncheon, perhaps, could have done a better job at this.
Cork - 6.5
Cork did have a couple of chances to score from distance which he did not take.
Schneiderlin - 5.5
Committed a silly foul after losing the ball and holding back Jones at the end of the first half. Schneiderlin also kicked the ball away for a yellow card.
Ramirez (Off 45') - 6
Southampton fans would have expected more from him but he did little with the ball in his 45 minutes on the field.
Lambert - 7.5
Had an excellent game despite not scoring. He was the danger man for Southampton which United, at times, struggled to get to grips with. Without some last ditch tackles from Vidic and a good save from De Gea, Southampton would definitely have scored through Lambert on Wednesday night.
Rodriguez (Off 45') - 7
Worked his socks off and made life difficult for Manchester United. His goal may have come about from a poor back pass by Carrick but it was Rodriguez's commitment to closing down which forced the error and got him his goal.
S. Davis (On 45') - 6
Had a chance from outside the area after a good spell of Southampton pressure but he couldn't hit the target.
Lallana (On 45') - 7
Lallana came on at the start of the second half and started making things happen for Southampton. And it almost paid off for him in the 87th minute when it looked as though the ball would break for him in the area but somehow United got it clear.
Shaw (On 78') - 7
An eventful 12-minute plus cameo for Shaw. First he wriggled free in the box to cut the ball back for Lambert in the 85th minute but the striker's shot was blocked. Soon after that, his cross for Lambert to head into the path of Lallana almost resulted in a late equaliser for Southampton.