A lacklustre Manchester United needed a rare goal by midfielder Fred to salvage an unconvincing 1-1 Premier League draw with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Kelechi Iheanacho had put the visitors ahead, nodding an inch-perfect James Maddison cross past David de Gea after Fred was dispossessed on a United counter-attack.
But the Brazillian levelled three minutes later after Leicester failed to clear the ball, Bruno Fernandes shooting from the edge of the box and Fred tapping home the rebound after Kasper Schmeichel pushed it out.
United struggled for fluency throughout and remained sixth in the table and in serious danger of failing to finish in the top four and earn a Champions League spot next season.
“Everyone gave everything,” Fernandes told Sky Sports. “I don’t believe there’s anyone who didn’t give everything in the game. Nobody lacked intensity. We have to keep fighting. As I said before, we have to keep looking at our own games.”
Leicester continued to run at a disorganised United defence and had the ball in the back of the net again through Maddison, but it was ruled out due to a foul in the build-up.
“It’s one of them: you’ve seen them given. I’m obviously going to be biased, I don’t think it’s a foul,” Maddison said.
“It was a great feeling for about three minutes! But as soon as you see them going over the monitor … there’s no point them even going over any more.
Even after that, we had chances on the counter, but we’ll take a point.”
United had only one other real chance when Fernandes, running through on goal, was denied by Schmeichel.
They had seemed lethargic throughout, looking a shadow of the side who beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 before the international break when Cristiano Ronaldo was leading the line.
The Portugal forward was absent on Saturday through illness and with Edinson Cavani also absent and Marcus Rashford on the substitutes’ bench, United started without a proper striker.
Ralf Rangnick’s team could be overtaken in the standings by West Ham United if they beat Everton on Sunday. Leicester moved up to ninth.