Joe Allen feared his chance to be a goal-hero for Stoke City at Old Trafford had passed him by.
Wales midfielder Allen shot too close to David de Gea midway through the second half of Sunday’s 1-1 draw and had to watch Anthony Martial open the scoring with aplomb in the 69th minute.
But an error from De Gea allowed Allen to net eight minutes from time and haul Mark Hughes’s side off the bottom of the table with eight minutes remaining.
“To go a goal behind against a team like that and going on to get a point is a tough ask but we did it,” Allen said.
“You don’t get many chances here and I thought that was going to be my only one. It was a well-earned point for us in the end.
“You can see the effort that was there. We haven’t been picking up many points but you can’t fault the effort of the lads.
“We knocked it around at times which is a good sign for the weeks to come.
“I think the last three games have also been good performances. Against West Brom [last weekend’s 1-1 draw] we were bitterly disappointed to concede late on.”
Allen was on the receiving end of a rash high tackle from United midfielder Ander Herrera early in the second period but he did not think there was any ill-intent.
Asked whether Herrera should have seen red, Allen added: “Yes, possibly. In fairness, he was going for the ball. Sometimes they get sent off, sometimes they don’t.”
Stoke’s other hero was goalkeeper Lee Grant, who made a string of brilliant saves on his second Premier League appearance.
“It’s a great day for me personally but the points are all important – they are much needed at present,” he said.
“I don’t know [what my best save was], I’ll have to have a little look back at the video in the week.
“You understand you are going to be under pressure against Manchester United and thankfully we were prepared.”