Sheffield United put a huge dent in Manchester United’s Premier League title ambitions on Wednesday, beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s off-key side 2-1 at Old Trafford.
United knew they had to respond after Manchester City leapfrogged them at the summit with a 5-0 hammering of West Brom on Tuesday but they were well short of their best on a frustrating night.
The result leaves them on 40 points — one point behind City — but Pep Guardiola’s side now have a game in hand and are looking relentless.
United were sloppy in possession from the start at Old Trafford against the bottom-placed visitors, who had won just one league match in the entire campaign.
The home side dominated possession in the initial stages and Marcus Rashford had an early shot but they were short of ideas against the battling away team.
The Blades broke the deadlock midway through the first half when Kean Bryan rose to glance home John Fleck’s corner after David de Gea failed to punch clear.
Billy Sharp appeared to nudge the Spanish goalkeeper from behind but the goal was allowed to stand.
Manchester United had the ball in the net after half an hour’s play but Anthony Martial’s effort did not count because referee Peter Bankes had already blown his whistle for a foul by Harry Maguire on goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
United lacked urgency as the first period wore on, struggling to get behind Chris Wilder’s organised back line.