Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescued an injury-time draw for Manchester United against Everton as Jose Mourinho’s side once again failed to win in the league at Old Trafford.
The Swede’s 94th-minute penalty was awarded after Luke Shaw’s goal-bound shot was handled on the line by visiting defender Ashley Williams, who was given a red card.
The point means United extend their unbeaten run to 20 games, but have now drawn nine times at home in the league and 12 overall, while opponents Everton missed the chance to leapfrog them in the table.
Everton’s opener came through Phil Jagielka’s clever, flicked finish from close range when he had his back to goal.
In response to going behind, Ander Herrera struck the crossbar after Joel Robles parried Daley Blind’s free-kick and the United midfielder also forced Toffees goalkeeper Robles into a full-stretch save.
Paul Pogba came on for the second half and headed against the bar from Ashley Young’s free-kick, while Ibrahimovic had a goal disallowed for offside in a disjointed United performance.
Relive the draw from Old Trafford
Louis van Mourinho?
United were staring at defeat for the first time since their 4-0 drubbing against Chelsea in October before Ibrahimovic’s coolly taken penalty which sent Robles the wrong way.
The striker said before kick-off that he and the club are “still in talks” about signing a new deal for next season and they are indebted to the Swede for his 27 goals this term, many of which have been on important occasions.
It was a huge let-off for the hosts, who had 61.5% possession and 18 shots, but only three on target, showing their obvious weakness in front of goal.
Much of United’s play was in front of the Everton backline – often sideways and ponderous – without displaying any real strategy to breakdown the opposition.
Previous boss Louis van Gaal’s slow style of play was criticised by the supporters, but United’s last two performances have been a throwback to those days.
In fact, after 29 games in his first season, Van Gaal claimed 56 points and were fourth in the league, while Mourinho has two fewer points and are a place further back.
Substitution confusion and mistrust
In an attempt to get back into the contest, world record signing Pogba replaced left-back Daley Blind at half time.
A reshuffle to the side meant Herrera dropped to Blind’s previous position, allowing Pogba to take up his role in the middle of the park.
But less than five minutes later, Herrera swapped positions with Young to go to the right-back spot.
All this took place with full-backs Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw – whose commitment has been questioned by the manager – sitting on the bench.
Shaw did come on just after the hour mark but only after an injury to Young, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan – dropped as Mourinho was “not happy” with his performance in the previous match against West Brom – replaced Michael Carrick.
The confusion from his players and the muddled changes from boss Mourinho showed the apparent mistrust he holds towards his squad as they struggle to find cohesion and incisiveness.
A busy April for United has started with two draws, with five further league and two Europa League games to play.
Analysis – Fellaini like a six-year-old
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 live:
From Manchester United, it was a dog’s dinner of a performance. They had no idea who was playing where and they played that way. They have gone away with one point but should have had none.
United were absolutely all over the place. I cannot see what they were trying to achieve here. They had no shape about them at all.
Where was Marouane Fellaini even playing? One second he is trying to go forward and the next he is running back – at times he is just chasing the ball like a six-year-old in the playground.
Koeman misses out on history
Having collected 1-0 victories in his two previous visits to Old Trafford with Southampton, Dutchman Ronald Koeman was looking to make it a hat-trick by becoming the first manager in Premier League history to win three consecutive away games at Old Trafford.
The Everton boss was one minute away from doing so.
The Dutchman would have set a record which even Sir Alex Ferguson, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho failed to do in their opening three home games as United manager.
Koeman’s side took the lead as centre-back Jagielka nipped in ahead of the hesitant Marcos Rojo and from there on, the Blues defended deep and resolutely but ultimately came away with just a point.
Everton’s robustness was typified by the assured 20-year-old Mason Holgate, who made four interceptions and regained possession nine times, which was more than any other team-mate.
The impressive Ashley Williams patrolled the defence and completed 11 clearances for his team, but it was his late error which led to the equaliser.
A flash point in the second half saw Kevin Mirallas petulantly refuse a handshake from his manager when substituted on 67 minutes.
Commenting on the incident, Koeman said: “I can understand players are a bit disappointed if you sub them but the way he reacted was not a team in my opinion and I will speak with him about that.”
Man of the match – Phil Jagielka (Everton)
‘Result is hard to take’
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho told BBC Sport: “We scored two legal goals but I tell you with a smile on my face because I am not upset with the linesman. A really difficult decision for him, only video assistant replay could help this.
“After pressure, after pressure, after pressure the goal finally arrived and at least you don’t have the feeling of defeat.
“The players gave everything. The performance from a football point of view was not good but I am very pleased with the effort.”
Everton boss Ronald Koeman told BBC Sport: “It was a difficult game, we controlled it well at 1-0 up, we had chances on the counter in the second half but not always was the last ball a good one.
“It was really disappointing you don’t get the win. The penalty was the right decision but it was really hard to take.
“Manchester United were attacking, taking risks, for that we had to kill the game. I was really confident to keep the clean sheet tonight.”
United continue their difficult month with a trip to bottom side Sunderland on Sunday (kick-off 13:30 BST), while Everton host Leicester on the same day (kick-off 16:00 BST).
No more second half comebacks – the stats
- Manchester United’s Premier League unbeaten run now stands at 20 games, but they’ve drawn half of those (won 10, drawn 10).
- Ashley Williams became the first Everton player to be sent off in the Premier League against Manchester United since David Weir in October 2002.
- Phil Jagielka has scored his first Premier League goal since May 2015, 703 days ago against Aston Villa.
- Defender Jagielka is the 17th scorer for Everton this season in the Premier League – they have had more different scorers than any other club.
- The Red Devils have drawn 12 league games this season, their most in a campaign since the 1998-99 season (13).
- United have won just one of the 11 Premier League games they have been trailing at half-time at Old Trafford since Alex Ferguson left the club (drawn three, lost seven).
- United have won just six of their 16 league games at home this season (37.5% win percentage), their worst home win % in a campaign since 1973-74 (33.3%).