The underwhelming home form of Manchester United persisted, but their 0-0 draw with a passive Manchester City at least avoided more suffering from following the humiliation of the Champions League.
After United endured a 3-2 loss away to RB Leipzig in Europe on Tuesday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came under increased pressure, his team only showing some spirit until they were three goals down.
But they came up against a City side in Saturday’s Manchester derby that rarely displayed the degree of pressure exhibited by the Germans in midweek, with Solskjaer possibly seeing the stalemate as something of a missed chance.
While they were far from their fluent best, City crafted the better chances, but ultimately neither side deserved to make the breakthrough as they remain neck-and-neck in seventh and eighth in the table, now United won this term at home with just five points.
City seemed slow and lacking in creativity despite predictably seeing most of the ball throughout and they nearly trailed 11 minutes in as Victor Lindelof’s flick-on at a corner bounced agonizingly at the far post over the foot of the unmarked Scott McTominay.
Soon after, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka turned inside out by Raheem Sterling before Harry Maguire developed a critical block, the visitors provided an opening.
As City caught them on the break, United had another escape 10 minutes before half-time, David de Gea thwarting Riyad Mahrez after Kevin De Bruyne cleverly released them into the box.
After the restart, the hosts initially showed greater intent and apparently earned a penalty when Kyle Walker clipped Marcus Rashford, only for VAR to bail out the City defender as his England counterpart had strayed slightly offside.
But in the second half, it was not a sign of an imminent flurry of activity. While the tempo was determined by City, chances were infrequent and there were few opportunities for United to counter.