Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United reign dropped to its lowest ebb with a 2-1 defeat to Norwich. With Jose Mourinho now out of work, Van Gaal’s job must surely be under threat as United slipped out of the top four.
Goals from Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey either side of half-time proved enough for the Canaries, despite a reply from Anthony Martial.
United left the field to boos after failing to win for a sixth game in succession in a damaging run that has placed question marks over Van Gaal’s future.
The result also made for a miserable afternoon for captain Wayne Rooney on the occasion of his 500th appearance for the club. The England linchpin started brightly but was unable to wrest back the initiative once the Canaries, who had been without a win at Old Trafford since 1989, took command with two breakaway goals.
United controlled possession early on and showed plenty of attacking intent, with Rooney operating centrally, but they failed to test visiting goalkeeper Declan Rudd.
Rooney did poke the ball past Rudd in the 10th minute, but the flag had already been raised for offside against Marouane Fellaini.
Mephis Depay clipped an effort over the bar and Rooney dragged another shot wide before the pair combined to create another chance only for Russell Martin to clear.
After a long period on the back foot, Norwich eventually served warning of their ability on the counter-attack as Tettey beat Chris Smalling with a neat bit of skill only to shoot wide from distance.
The opening goal also came on the break as Nathan Redmond surged down the right and pushed the ball past the static Phil Jones to feed Jerome. The striker took up the charge and turned inside the diving Ashley Young before firing a fierce shot through the arms of David de Gea.
United fans’ frustration was immediately evident, and even more so at the interval, although the boos turned to loud applause as the players reached the tunnel.
But worse was to follow after the restart as the Canaries doubled their lead with 54 minutes gone.
Rooney, perhaps in frustration, had ventured back into midfield to try to retrieve possession, but lost out and Jerome quickly released Tettey. The Norwegian was quickly into his stride and raced into the area before beating a helpless De Gea with a low shot into the corner.
United were jolted back into action and started to show greater urgency.
Rooney missed the target with an overhead kick before a Young cross created the chance for Martial to pull one back. The Frenchman got a lucky deflection off one defender, but then nimbly avoided Ryan Bennett and lashed a powerful drive into the roof of the net.
Fans responded with chants of “attack, attack” and more pressure and chances came, but United could not take advantage.
Rooney was unable to turn in a ball across the area and miscontrolled another pass, while Juan Mata had a free-kick pushed away by Rudd.
United had one last chance in the dying moments, but Smalling could not keep his header on target.