Manchester United’s lean spell continued with a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday as Cristiano Ronaldo’s run without a goal extended to six games.
Che Adams grabbed Southampton’s equalizer in the 48th minute to cancel out the opener in the 21st by Jadon Sancho, who scored at Old Trafford for the first time since joining United in the offseason.
The latest setback for United came four days after a 1-1 draw at last-place Burnley and a week after getting eliminated from the FA Cup at the hands of second-tier Middlesbrough at home following a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. On all three occasions, United has led 1-0 at halftime.
“We had an excellent half hour, but in the end it’s about playing in that way for more than just one half,” United manager Ralf Rangnick said.
“We told them exactly that (at halftime), that we have to be aggressive, we have to stay compact, we shouldn’t give them any space,” he said. “This is what we told them, obviously. But in the end it’s a different thing to perform like that on the pitch.”
United moved onto the same number of points as fourth-place West Ham but remained outside the Champions League positions.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, hasn’t scored in 2022 _ his last goal was against Burnley on Dec. 30 _ though he did have a goal ruled out for offside in the second half and had a shot cleared away from near the goal-line after rounding the goalkeeper early in the first half.
Southampton is proving a problem for the bigger teams in the league, with this result coming on the heels of a draw with Manchester City _ ending the leaders’ 12-game winning run _ and a win at Tottenham in midweek.
“It’s very enjoyable with this team,” Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said. “We are really good to watch to be honest. It’s fantastic from our side. We always have a solution and a new way of playing and this is good to watch and the way we want to go.”
Sancho’s goal was a tap-in at the far post from a cross by Marcus Rashford, who had been released by a fine pass from deep by Bruno Fernandes.
Inspired by Paul Pogba, United was much the better team in the first half but faded after the break _ like against Middlesbrough and Burnley.
And Adams made the hosts pay by stroking in a low finish off the far post after finding himself free on the left and played onside by Luke Shaw.
“We have to understand where we are,” said Rangnick, who replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager at the start of December. “We got a point today; we expected three and needed three, but that is the situation. That is why there was a change of manager and why we are here.”