Manchester United
Manchester United players look on in despair after conceding a goal against Sunderland in the English Premier LeagueReuters

Louis Van Gaal is surely on the precipice now. Needing nothing but a win to keep pace with the top four, who play each other in the English Premier League on Sunday, Manchester United flattered to deceive yet again, going down 2-1 to relegation-threatened Sunderland.

As Manchester United lick their wounds, Sunderland will be on cloud nine after a thoroughly impressive second half performance, which deservedly gave them the three points at the Stadium of Light.

"I hope [we don't get relegated]. This performance was very very similar to Manchester City, but we got what we deserved this time," Sam Allardyce told BT Sport in a television interview right after the match. "We should have been 2-0 up in the first half, and then we had two chances in the second half.

"I was wondering if it was going to be another disappointing day for us, but gladly our new boys have swung it in our favour. To beat Manchester United is three very, very big points for us.

"We had three tough matches against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United and to come away with four points from those is huge."

Sunderland opened the scoring inside three minutes of the game as Wahbi Khazri saw his freekick from the left miss everyone and nestle into the bottom corner, with David De Gea unable to get down in time.

However, Manchester United, expectedly with most of the possession in the first half, came back strongly, scoring the equaliser six minutes before halftime, courtesy one of their few bright spots of the season – Anthony Martial.

It was a wonderful finish too, a gorgeous left-footed dink from an acute angle after Vito Mannone had saved well to deny Juan Mata.

Manchester United would have been expected to start strong in the second period, but it was Sunderland who took the initiative, carving a couple of really good chances, with De Gea forced to make a top save to deny Dame N'Doye.

However, Sunderland kept pressing forward and they were rewarded on 82 minutes as Lamine Kone, left alone in the box, rose to head home, with the ball bouncing off De Gea to hit the back of the net.

"We didn't create enough chances and it has cost us in the end," Wayne Rooney said in an interview to BT Sport. "Not defending setpieces also hurt. It will be difficult to qualify for the Champions League now, we know that. It is a disappointing result, and we have to somehow move on."