Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes scored a stoppage time winner to ease the mounting pressure on Erik ten Hag with a 1-0 win at Fulham on Saturday.
The Red Devils looked set to drop points for the sixth time in their opening 11 Premier League games after another performance lacking in invention at Craven Cottage.
But Fernandes’ strike from outside the box had just too much power for Bernd Leno in the 91st minute to offer some relief to his manager.
Victory lifts United up to sixth and within five points of the top four.
Ten Hag labelled Marcus Rashford’s decision to attend a birthday party at a nightclub in the hours after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City as “unacceptable”.
However, the Dutch coach insisted that Rashford’s absence from the matchday squad was due to injury rather than any disciplinary action.
United needed a bright start after a week to forget. They also lost 3-0 at home to Newcastle on Wednesday to end their hold on the League Cup.
The visitors did have the ball in the net after just seven minutes.
Scott McTominay has been the most reliable source of goals in recent weeks for Ten Hag as his forwards misfire.
The Scotland midfielder turned in Alejandro Garnacho’s ball.
However, Harry Maguire had tried to play the ball before it reached Garnacho from an offside position. The strike was ruled out by a VAR review that lasted four minutes.
Thereafter, United’s blunt attack rarely seriously threatened the Fulham goal.
Antony was hooked by Ten Hag after another woeful performance by the £87 million winger on the hour mark and Rasmus Hojlund’s wait for a first Premier League goal goes on.
Fulham have also struggled to find the net since the departure of Aleksandar Mitrovic to the Saudi Pro League.
Marco Silva’s men have scored just nine times in their opening 11 games and were to rue not making more of a dominant spell early in the second-half.
Andre Onana was forced to parry powerful efforts by Harry Wilson and Joao Palhinha, while Willian dragged another good opening just wide.
United looked destined for their first draw since April until Fulham shot themselves in the foot in stoppage time.
Palhinha twice failed to clear and the ball eventually broke to his Portuguese international teammate.
Fernandes has been one of the main targets for criticism in a disastrous start to the campaign.
But he provided a moment of inspiration when United needed it most as he calmly cut onto his right foot and fired into the bottom corner despite Leno getting a hand to his effort.
The defeat leaves Fulham still in 14th, seven points above the relegation zone.