Man United held 1-1 by Everton at Old Trafford

Manchester United was held to a 1-1 draw at home to Everton on Saturday after Andros Townsend's equaliser cancelled out Anthony Martial's opener for the home side.

Manchester United players celebrate after taking the lead against Everton on Saturday.   -  AP

Manchester United was held to a 1-1 draw at home to Everton on Saturday after Andros Townsend's equaliser cancelled out Anthony Martial's opener for the home side.

It was another disappointing result for United, following its home defeat to Aston Villa last week, but continued the impressive start that Everton has made under Rafael Benitez.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer responded to the challenge of the quick turn-around from Wednesday's Champions League win over Villarreal by starting Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho on the bench - although all three were brought on in the second half.

United started off on the front foot with Martial heading wide at the back post and Edinson Cavani forcing Jordan Pickford into a diving save with a firm header from a nicely floated Fred cross.

Everton though was well organised and set up to hit on the break, and the lively Demarai Gray brought David De Gea into action with a good effort after bursting in from the left in the 34th minute.

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But it was a deserved lead that United took, two minutes before the interval when Mason Greenwood, showing some excellent touches on the flank, found Bruno Fernandes who expertly fed Martial, the Frenchman's slightly deflected shot flashing past Pickford.

Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 57th minute, bringing on Ronaldo and Sancho for Martial and Cavani, but the switch did not have the desired effect of finishing the game off.

Instead, Everton hit United on the counter-attack - breaking from a United corner with Gray outmuscling Fred on the left before finding the excellent Abdoulaye Doucoure who in turn slipped it outside to the sprinting Townsend, who fired low past the stationary De Gea.

The visitors looked to have grabbed a late winner when Tom Davies' low ball was turned in by Yerry Mina, but United was handed a reprieve by a VAR review that right judged the Colombian to be offside.

There was a late chance for United's Jadon Sancho, played in by a back-heel from substitute Ronaldo, but his soft shot was easily dealt with by Pickford.

Both teams are on 14 points, together with leaders Liverpool which faces Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.

United should have won that game, says Fernandes

One point out of six from its last two home matches is a poor return for a team hoping to be among the title challengers. But for Everton, the result was an indicator that perhaps this season it may be able to sustain a push for a European place.

"We should win this game. We should create more chances. We should not concede that kind of goal. It's not the first time and we have to look at our mistakes and see what we can do," said the Portuguese midfielder.

"We don't look at the league table at this moment but of course we should have more points. We drop points at home and we should not do that. These last two games at home was not good enough in the Premier League. If we want silverware at the end of the season we have to do much better," he added.

"You can see the team spirit and the fans will appreciate that - and the players will appreciate the support of the fans," added the former Liverpool and Newcastle manager.

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"I thought we played really well first half, created a lot of chances. Second half we slow it down, once again we make that mistake," the Portuguese midfielder told MUTV.

"We have to learn and the time is now. We cannot do it anymore. We did it so many times. We cannot slow it down when we are winning. We have to make it quicker, score another one or two and then after that you can slow it down a little and make them run more," he said.

Fernandes, captaining the side in the absence of Harry Maguire, said another bad habit that needed addressing was conceding from counter-attacks.

"We should learn because that is not the first time it has happened, we have to do something, change something because something is not working to concede so many counters.

"That is about the players on the pitch doing something, not about someone else. We have to make a foul, stop the game, I have to take a better corner, many, many things have to be better," he said.

United have picked up just one point from their last two home games, with Saturday's draw following last week's loss to Aston Villa and although their 14 points leaves them in the leading pack, Fernandes was not happy with the return.

"It is not good enough, we should have more points, but this is what we have now. We have to look forward now to what we can do until the end of the season," he said.

Everton's goal came from a break after a United corner taken by Fernandes.

But for Everton, the result was an indicator that perhaps this season they may be able to sustain a push for a European place - especially when they can call upon currently injured forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

"We are doing well. We have some problems with injuries and still the team is working really hard and reacting really well," said Benitez.

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