Manchester City's Premier League title celebrations have been put on hold for the time being after Manchester United came from behind to defeat Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Bertrand Traore scored an emphatic goal in the 24th minute, and Emiliano Martinez saved efforts from Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford to hold second-placed United at bay until halftime.
However, in the second half, the Red Devils stepped up their game and demonstrated their consistency, with goals from Bruno Fernandes, Greenwood, and second-half substitute Edinson Cavani all but ensuring a top-four finish and Champions League football for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side next season.
At the death, Villa striker Ollie Watkins was sent off for a second bookable offense, but United kept on extending their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 25 games, bringing them within two games of Arsenal's record.
United left-back Luke Shaw admitted to Sky Sports shortly after the final whistle that he was disappointed by yet another bad start in the league but satisfied with the team's fightback spirit.
‘Going 1-0 down in the first half we knew it was going to be a hard game and we have been in this situation so many times – second half we came back much better,’ he said.
‘That’s a positive but we need to start the first half better than we normally do.
‘Maybe we’re not ready for the game but we have the quality and can’t keep counting on second-half performances.’
It was the tenth time this season that United has come back from a deficit to win, and Shaw revealed what Solskjaer said at halftime that inspired the comeback.
‘He said exactly what I have just said, we have been in this situation a lot of times, we have the quality, are a fit team and we always believe,’ the England full-back added.
‘When we got the first goal I felt we were going to win.
‘We are just focusing on ourselves, even more so we look at the Manchester City result and we are disappointed with the points we have let go this season.
‘We have two games in four days, we need to be ready.’