Jose Mourinho‘s men struggled to break chances in the first half but improved following the break, albeit without creating many chances.
The 54-year-old turned to Anthony Martial and the Frenchman duly produced a crucial moment of ruthlessness, latching onto Romelu Lukaku’s header before sliding the ball past Hugo Lloris.
And Matic, speaking to Sky Sports after the game, thanked the 21-year-old for his decisive intervention with ten minutes left.
In a game that needed to be won but hardly ever looked like being won by anybody, Martial came on and added something different.
This was a ferocious, gritty, chess-like encounter, with both sides gradually trying to force an error, but nobody looked capable of actually rising above the furore under the Manchester rain.
And this where Martial came in: cool, detached yet driven, lurking and waiting for his time to pounce. He was the ‘something different’ that the game desperately craved, sneaking in behind Jan Vertonghen, capitalising on a rare lapse of concentration, and producing a moment that could be massive in the context of United’s season.