West Ham may not have secured the full three points in a Premier League match since October 24, but leaving Old Trafford with a point still counts as a moral victory.
It means that the east Londoners are unbeaten on road against the best in the land – and manager Slaven Bilic left the north west with a smile on his face.
That show of resilience – and frequent domination – will be called upon when Stoke visit the Boleyn Ground on Saturday (December 12). West Ham have struggled against the so-called lesser clubs and the Potters are now a mightily impressive unit, beating the other half of Manchester at the weekend.
However, Bilic is allowed some time to enjoy what he saw on Saturday, even if it did play into the current “boring, boring Man Utd” narrative.
He told the club’s website: “You can talk, you can do analysis, you can prepare but the best way the players are going to believe it is when they have done it.”
What they “did” according to the Croatian was follow a plan that exploited Manchester United’s ambitions to attack and get in behind. In doing so Victor Moses, Mauro Zarate, twice, and Winston Reid all had some of the best chances of the 90 minutes.
He said: “I told the players yesterday and at half time that at 0-0 the longer the game goes they are giving you more spaces and they are risking more and they don’t track back immediately so it presents more opportunity. You can’t expect that you’ll get five or 10 [opportunities], especially at Old Trafford.
“The players responded really well and it was a very good point for us, especially when you consider the historic results between West Ham and Manchester United. They have only conceded one goal at home and we had four of our best offensive players out, so to put that performance on was superb.
“We didn’t only defend, on the contrary, we created enough chances against them and it was a very good day for us.”
The home crowd were subdued and resorted to cries of a “attack, attack, attack” early in the second half. Most of the atmosphere was created by the noisy West Ham fans who chorused “Is this the Emirates?”