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A desire to never give in is worth its weight in gold come the season's end

There’s no such thing as a lost cause for Manchester United. Out played and out fought by Sunderland for the whole 90 minutes, any other team in the division would have finished without a point to boast of.

Not Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges. As lucky as Anton Ferdinand’s deflected goal might have been, its value cannot be under-estimated as it saw a 2-2 draw feel like a victory upon the final whistle.

Premier League titles are rarely won by convincing margins. When the final point’s totals are totted up in May, this match, and the Manchester derby, could be held up as the reasons why the trophy is residing at Old Trafford for an unprecedented fourth successive year.

Until Patrice Evra drove home a hopeful shot in to a packed Sunderland penalty area, United had seemed to be heading for a surprise defeat. A home record the envy of every other side in the division looked just a bookmark in history as the hosts were never at the races.

Sloppy passing and static movement were the order of the day. Chief perpetrator’s, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher, resembled nothing like the men who have forged impressive career’s at the club.

Game to forget | Scholes was far from his best in a terrible 45 minutes

It’s hard to recall a performance like that from Scholes, as the ‘Ginger Maestro’ failed to play to the same beat as his team mates. Time catches up with everyone, and the high energy and verve of Lee Cattermole and Lorik Cana unsettled a player, who in his old age, likes to operate at his own pace.

Scholes and Fletcher’s hesitancy transferred throughout the entire side. Jonny Evans in particular was guilty of pumping balls up to Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney that were destined to be repelled right back at him by the impressive Michael Turner.

Berbatov’s worth was exhibited tonight when he executed an audacious overhead kick on one of the few times a good cross was delivered in to the box.

Instead of the woeful Nani stepping up to the plate, it was left to John O’Shea to pick out the striker. With a rested Ryan Giggs sitting in the stands, the spotlight at the Theatre of Dreams shone brightly on the Portuguese.

Again, he fluffed his lines. In a run of poor performances, he shot another bogey to make the questions surrounding his future ring ever louder.

The late leveller means some of the criticism can be brushed under the carpet, as time is yet to be called on United’s residence at the last chance saloon.

Matt Monaghan,