- Daniel James got the visitors off to the perfect start by thumping into the top corner in the 10th minute
- Che Adams missed a glorious opportunity to equalise as he blazed wide from close in the second half
- Southampton were back on level minutes later when Jannik Vestergaard towered above his marker to head in
- The hosts were reduced to 10 men after defender Kevin Danso received his marching orders for two yellows
For much of the first half at St Mary’s this was a day for the Manchester United old boys. There were songs for idols of yesteryear – Eric Cantona, Matt Busby, even Robin van Persie. Then, after 10 minutes, the travelling jukebox repeated their new take on on an old classic.
If Ryan Giggs used to tear you apart, United fans want you to know that Daniel James is the heir to his throne. They are big shoes to fill. But the 21-year-old is making quite a fist of it already. Here his third goal in four games – a fine strike from just inside the box – put United on course for a much needed three points.
Yet for all the promise in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new breed going forward, old frailties continue to haunt them
Daniel James opened the scoring when he cut inside on to his right foot and unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner
The Manchester United winger peels away to celebrate near the home supporters after his stunning opener
Jannik Vestergaard towered above Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof to equalise for Southampton in the second half
Southampton were reduced to 10 men when Kevin Danso picked up his second yellow for a foul on Scott McTominay
The Southampton defender looks dejected as he heads down the tunnel after receiving his marching orders
MATCH FACTS AND LIVE LEAGUE STANDINGS
SOUTHAMPTON (4-2-2-2): Gunn, Cedric, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Danso, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Boufal (Armstrong 71), Ward-Prowse, Ings (Yoshida 77), Adams (Long 61);
SUBS NOT USED: McCarthy, Stephens, N’Lundulu, Valery
SCORERS: Vestergaard (58)
BOOKED: Danso, Armstrong
SENT OFF: Danso (73)
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young, Pogba, McTominay (Greenwood 81), James, Mata (Matic 67), Andreas Pereira (Lingard 67), Rashford;
SUBS NOT USED: Rojo, Romero, Tuanzebe, Chong
SCORERS: James (10)
BOOKED: Maguire, Young
REFEREE: Mike Dean
Harry Maguire was signed for £80million to shore up United’s back four. There was nothing he could do, though, to prevent the 6ft 5in Jannik Vestergaard rising above Victor Lindelof to score his first goal in English football and earn a share of the spoils.
Even after Kevin Danso was sent off with 18 minutes to play, United failed to turn the screw.
James’ shot was beaten away by Angus Gunn before the keeper dived to keep out Mason Greenwood’s curling effort. He could only watch Ashley Young’s looping shot whistle past his post.
So no win in eight away games now for United and just one clean sheet in their last 15 Premier League away days.
Had there been no summer break in the middle of this run, the alarm bells would be ringing even louder than they are.
Marcus Rashford finds himself all alone in a dangerous position in the box but gets his header all wrong and nods it wide
Mason Greenwood goes down in the area under the challenge of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg but no penalty is given
Scott McTominay tries his luck from the edge of the box but his effort sails over the Southampton goal
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba shows his strength to hold off Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard
Since victory over Paris Saint-Germain in March, they have won just three of 16 games in all competitions and none away from home.
In the meantime, there has been a certain masochism surrounding the Old Trafford club. Solskjaer has been lauded by some supporters for ridding the squad of so much dead wood. But these are strange times if self-harm is cause for celebration. Even the United manager has admitted his squad is now a striker short following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.
They may not be missed by many for now, but before kick-off United fans toasted Van Persie.
It was a sign of a gratitude for his fine spell at Old Trafford, but also a timely remember of happier times.
Four years after his departure, a glance to the United bench – and the attacking options of Jesse Lingard, Greenwood (17) and Tahith Chong (19) – told its own story.
Of course, all that would be white noise if they had held on to their first-half lead.
Aaron Wan-Bisakka wraps his foot around the ball to try and turn it goalwards but his shot goes just over the crossbar
Oriol Romeu tracks Rashford’s run and gets back to slide in and win the ball back for Southampton during the first half
Southampton centre back Vestergaard vents his frustrations as he screams at his team-mates
United had started sloppily until James picked up the ball on the left hand side. The 21-year-old was allowed to drive into the box where Juan Mata’s intelligent run drew the attention of Cedric and gave him the chance to cut on to his right foot. James took the invitation and fired the ball into the far corner.
At the other end, meanwhile, David de Gea was given very little to do in the opening period.
Sofiane Boufal fired just wide from outside the area but during the first 45 minutes, De Gea’s concerns came mostly when United had the ball.
The home side pressed high and United were happy to play with fire. It meant they were often hemmed in their own territory, not helped by Paul Pogba’s inability to keep the ball.
But Saints rarely threatened. Aaron Wan Bissaka was particularly impressive – the 21-year-old kept Boufal quiet for long periods and almost doubled United’s lead with a volley that flew just over the bar.
Referee Mike Dean, ever the sideshow, was the target of boos at the half-time whistle, but he could do little to help Saints string some passes together in the final third.
Angus Gunn rushes off of his goaline to come out and deny Manchester United forward Rashford from close range
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea springs to his left to palm the ball away from danger during the second half
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tries to encourage his players as United push forward in search of the winning goal
Ten minutes into the second period, though, their chance did come. After a neat reverse pass by James Ward-Prowse, the ball dropped to Che Adams.
But where James took his chance, Saints’ young new signing fluffed his lines. The striker fired wide from seven yards. It wasn’t a miss they rued for long.
From a corner three minutes later, Ings’ near post header was beaten away by De Gea. Danso collected the ball and crossed for Vestagaard to equalise.
That prompted Hasenhuttl to run on to the pitch, and Solskjaer to turn to two of his more experienced heads.
Lingard and Nemanja Matic were intorduced as Saints smelled blood. But their hopes of turning one point to three were extinguished when Danso – already on a yellow card – hacked down Scott McTominay.
Instead it was United who pushed for the winner. Rashford forced another sharp save from Gunn before Greenwood came on as a final roll of the dice.
The young striker went down in the box late on but neither Dean nor the VAR were convinced.
Come the final whistle there was more frustration for Solskjaer. After all, he can only play with the hands he has dealt himself.