MAN UNITED 0, SOUTHAMPTON 1
Dusan Tadic inflicted a second home defeat of the season on Manchester United as Southampton leapfrogged them into third place in the Barclays Premier League.
The Serbian midfield player, a second-half substitute, had only been on the field for six minutes when he struck the decisive goal as United suffered their first league defeat in 11 games to drop to fourth in the table.
Tadic, a £10.9million summer signing from Dutch club FC Twente, fired in a low shot from the edge of the box after Graziano Pelle’s initial effort struck the upright before rebounding to his team mate as Ronald Koeman won the managerial battle against fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal.
It was a hugely disappointing afternoon for the Reds who failed to register a shot on target in the entire match, despite having the attacking riches of Robin van Persie, Angel Di Maria, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia in their starting line up.
That was something highlighted by van Gaal who said: “We were the dominating team without creating chances.
“When you are the dominant team, you have to create more chances, and we did not make the right choices.”
Van Gaal added that Saints came for a draw and left with a victory adding: “The defended in small spaces and were well organised. They were a bit lucky and we were unlucky.
“It is more or less the same match as we did at Southampton. So when you ask if it is fair, you have to take into account that match and then it is fair.”
Van Gaal was disappointed saying his players made too many wrong choices explaining they had three “open” chances to score after Tadic had scored.
United brought in Daley Blind, Di Maria and Valencia as Jonny Evans, Radamel Falcao and Ashley Young stood down from the side which drew at Stoke City in their last Premier League fixture.
Southampton, who handed a debut to Eljero Elia, signed on loan from Werder Bremen, could have taken the lead in the opening minute when Nathaniel Clyne shot narrowly wide as they made a lively start.
Indeed, it was a measure of how well Saints played that United failed to trouble keeper Fraser Forster in the opening half which saw neither side register a shot on target.
The best chance they had just before the break was when Robin van Persie set up Wayne Rooney whose shot was blocked by substitute Florin Gardos who had replaced the injured Toby Alderweireld early in the match.
Tadic, who replaced Elia after 63 minutes, quickly made his mark breaking the deadlock as Saints looked to avenge their 2-1 home defeat to United early last month.
United had chances to equalise late in the game as Mata had three clear-cut chances with two flying wide and the other clearing the crossbar by some distance as Saints held on to register their first win of the season against a top-five side.
It was also the first time since May 2009 that United had failed to register one shot on target in a game at Old Trafford, Arsenal being their opponents that day.
This was also United’s first league loss at Old Trafford since the opening day of the season when Swansea City left with all three points.