Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Park Ji-sung for his matchwinning efforts as Manchester United beat Arsenal at Old Trafford - then revealed the South Korean is set to miss seven games due to international commitments.
Park's excellent first-half header proved to be the difference as United marched two points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, with a game in hand. Indeed, Ferguson's only disappointment was that he must soon say goodbye as he competes for his country at the Asia Cup in Qatar.
"Ji is in fantastic form," said Ferguson.
"Unfortunately we are going to lose him for seven matches after December 26. It is disappointing."
It is the second time in as many months United were indebted to Park, whose injury-time goal secured victory against Wolves in November.
United still had to shred a few nerves after Rooney skied a spot-kick over the bar.
"I have never seen him put one over the bar before," said Ferguson.
Nani also went close with a couple of opportunities, while Arsenal's only real chance came when Edwin van der Sar pushed a Samir Nasri shot into the path of Marouane Chamakh, only for skipper Nemanja Vidic to make a vital block.
"Manchester United defended very well, but technically, the quality of the game was average," said Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, before outlining his unhappiness with the surface.
"We were not quick and sharp in possession. That was partly down to their defending but also the quality of the pitch. If I ask you for a good or a bad pitch, what do you say? They made technical mistakes as well. The pitch is not good enough."