A goal each from Ji-Sung Park and Darren Fletcher ensured a disjointed Manchester United beat Charlton.
Park opened the scoring with a header
Park headed Patrice Evra's cross into the bottom corner on 24 minutes, after earlier being denied when Scott Carson superbly tipped over his fierce drive.
Darren Ambrose had almost opened the scoring for Charlton, but his header was superbly saved by Tomasz Kuszczak.
After the break United dominated without creating chances until Wayne Rooney set up Fletcher to head in.
Rooney had seen his shot rebound off the legs of Carson but showed great awareness to pick out Fletcher to kill the game off.
Moments before that Charlton had worried United when a cross grazed the head of defender Gary Neville and drifted narrowly wide of the post.
Not that Charlton would have deserved an equaliser, having spent virtually all of the second half deep in their own territory.
United, who were without Cristiano Ronaldo, lacked a ruthless edge but the Portugal winger's replacement Park made his impact felt.
After shooting wildly early on, and then seeing a fizzing shot palmed over by Carson, Park's industrious play was rewarded.
Evra's deflected cross from the left looped into the centre of the area and the South Korean out-jumped Ben Thatcher to head the ball into the bottom-right corner.
The goal knocked Charlton out of their stride - they had until then just about held their own in terms of chances and possession.
Indeed, it had taken an outstanding save from Kuszczak to prevent Darren Ambrose opening the scoring with a header, while Dennis Rommedahl fired into the side netting after slick build-up play.
Later, the Charlton side netting was ruffled by a Louis Saha shot as United began to dictate the tempo of the match.
The catalyst for United's improvement had been a sublime piece of skill by Rooney, who showed an exquisite touch to pull the down in the area but poked his shot wide.
Charlton's cause was hardly helped when Amdy Faye was forced off injured five minutes before half-time to be replaced by debutant Zhi Zheng.
The China captain slashed a shot across goal just after the interval as he tried to establish himself in the match.
But the visitors could barely get out of their own half after that as United assumed full control.
But the hosts created nothing until a lightning-quick break almost caught Charlton cold, when Saha exchanged passes with Rooney but the Frenchman scuffed his shot.
Then late on, Fletcher headed in to seal a win that was comfortable but not comprehensive.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
"We are playing well and with a lot of confidence.
"Darren Fletcher's goal wasn't the greatest goal in the world but I would have taken it any time.
"Their free-kick, which went narrowly wide, was a worry because it just reminds you that at 1-0 up, the opposition can get a goal in a second."
Charlton boss Alan Pardew:
"I think the scoreline flatters United and it is not often that you say that.
"I'm very pleased with our performance. We need to carry a little more of a goal threat but we could little more than we did today.
"You won't get many chances against United so you have take any you get."
Man Utd: Kuszczak, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Scholes, Giggs (Larsson 63), Park, Rooney, Saha (Richardson 81).
Subs Not Used: Heaton, Brown, Silvestre.
Goals: Park 24, Fletcher 82.
Charlton: Carson, Sankofa, Bougherra, Diawara, Thatcher, Rommedahl, Song Billong, Holland (Hughes 73), Faye (Zheng 40), Ambrose (Lisbie 73), Marcus Bent.
Subs Not Used: Randolph, Hasselbaink. Booked: Diawara.
Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).