The Reds made it an unhappy 70th birthday for Sir Alex by slipping to a shock 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn.
After conceding two goals to Yakubu, the first a penalty, the Reds battled back magnificently thanks to a double by Dimitar Berbatov. However, Grant Hanley scrambled a late winner against the run of play to ensure the champions finished 2011 on a low note, missing out on the chance to go top of the table.
United's injury problems led to Rafael and Ji-sung Park forming a makeshift central midfield partnership with Michael Carrick continuing in defence. Rovers had problems of their own with David Dunn and Junior Hoillett adding to the list of absentees.
Steve Kean's side didn't start like a team at the foot of the table as they passed the ball around with composure while the Reds started with unusual lethargy. Nani sent a left-footed shot wide and Carrick was squeezed out by Mark Bunn at the near post from a Nani corner but Paul Robinson's deputy was rarely troubled.
Disaster struck when awkward customer Chris Samba was felled inside the box as he grappled with Berbatov following a long free-kick by Bunn. Mike Dean had no
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