That he had so little to do summed up how poor the visitors' performance was. Solid whenever called upon.
Both he and fellow former United man O’Shea will feel they should have done better for United’s first goal having been evaded by Valencia’s pass. However, he otherwise played his part in keeping the visitors' front men at bay.
P. van Aanholt
Undone impressively by Valencia for the opener and did not offer a great deal going forward. All in all, a fairly nondescript day for the on-loan Chelsea man.
A solid, if unspectacular, showing against his former club, O'Shea looked decent alongside Wes Brown — albeit in the face of less pressure than might have been expected.
A good foil for the impressive Buckley, Vergini looked a threat when going forward and did his job defensively with minimal fuss.
Plenty of trickery from the newcomer, who took full advantage of Ashley Young’s struggles at wing back. The home side’s best player in the first half.
His cocktail of tough-tackling grit in midfield and improving work on the ball was a thorn in United’s side throughout the game.
Could hardly believe his luck having been left completely unmarked to head in Larsson’s corner at the front post. He was otherwise impressive and will be hoping for a rare injury-free run.
His set-piece delivery is always a threat, as illustrated by the corner that created the first goal. Larsson was solid throughout as Sunderland's midfield controlled proceedings.
Led the line gamely but still looks a shadow of the player who was so impressive during the early stages of his Premier League career.
While not possessing the threat of Buckley, Wickham did have his moments and interchanged nicely with Fletcher. He was unlucky to see a second-half volley cleared off the line by Blackett.
David de Gea
As solid as ever, De Gea could do little about the equalizer as Rodwell's bullet header eluded him. Despite Sunderland enjoying the better of proceedings, he was rarely tested.
Looked comfortable as the central point of United’s back three, but still needs to improve his distribution. Was withdrawn before halftime with an apparent injury to further deplete United’s back line.
Blackett, who was perhaps the most assured of the back three against Swansea, began shakily, yet grew into the game.
As often seems to be the case with Jones, too often his best work was last-ditch. Must become far less frenetic if he is going to thrive in Van Gaal’s system. Appears too excitable in possession and is therefore less effective.
With rumors swirling of transfer activity at Old Trafford, Cleverley’s performance was hardly the inspiring showing he would have hoped for. Wasteful in possession and lacking any real guile, he was lucky not to be taken off.
Able to get into the kinds of areas he thrives, Mata was rewarded for a fine run to the back post as Valencia’s vicious cross left him with a simple tap-in. However, he failed to offer the kind of creativity United would hope for.
Much like Young, Valencia can be found wanting when forced into defensive work, epitomized by him leaving Rodwell for Sunderland's leveler. However, he looked brighter than he has in some time going forward and superbly set up the opener.
Let down by a dreadful touch, Fletcher’s performance added further weight to the theory that United desperately needs reinforcements in the center of the park. The Scot struggled badly in the final third and looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.
Had his moments going forward but Young’s defensive work, often hopelessly poor, did little to dispel the notion he will instantly be replaced when Shaw is fit. Reputation went against him when he was denied a second-half penalty following a challenge from Brown.
R. van Persie
Let down badly by his supporting cast, the returning striker cut a frustrated figure. When the ball did come his way, Van Persie offered little and was withdrawn midway through the second half.
Did everything he could to get United going but Rooney will be among those eagerly anticipating Angel Di Maria's rumored arrival.
Struggled badly after replacing Smalling. The fact he was used shows how sparse the options available to Van Gaal are.
Came on alongside Welbeck as United switched to 4-3-3, yet was not able to have the same impact here as he did a year ago.
Offered United an outlet that was sorely lacking yet, as is often the case, did not back pace and verve up with a cutting edge.