After seven league games without a victory, Leeds fired Jesse Marsch on Monday.
For the trip across The Pennines, interim manager Michael Skubala only had one 20-minute training session, but the visitors were on track to win for the first time since 2010 against United.
After just a minute, Leeds got off to the perfect start thanks to Wilfried Gnonto, and Raphael Varane’s own goal early in the second half doubled their advantage.
Before Jadon Sancho’s first goal since September extended United’s home unbeaten streak to 16 games, Marcus Rashford’s 20th goal of the season sparked the Red Devils’ comeback.
Ten Hag said after the first of two Premier League matches between the teams in five days, “You can say we won a point because when you are in a derby and come back from 2-0 down it is good.”
However, starting a derby in the manner that we did is unacceptable. To fight, you need to be prepared, and we weren’t ready for the battle.
Despite having played two more games, third-place United is still seven points behind leaders Arsenal.
Leeds, who are just one point above the relegation zone, will benefit more from the draw.
Leeds were able to counterattack at will because of the absence of Casemiro, who was suspended, in the United midfield.
Gnonto, who has contributed consistently to Leeds’ otherwise depressing season, found the bottom corner for his fourth goal in seven games after just 60 seconds.
After Alejandro Garnacho rounded Illan Meslier and fired just wide, United should have equalized by halftime, but Max Woeber saved the Argentine’s shot.
However, the home team was penalized for their slow start after the break.
Raphael Varane turned Crysencio Summerville’s cross into his own net after Gnonto released Crysencio Summerville down the left.
Skubala said, “I think it instills belief in the players that they are good enough at this level.” Skubala does not yet know if he will be in charge for Sunday’s United match at Elland Road.
We just need to go after every game from now until the end of the season—they and we both know that.
To replace the ineffective Wout Weghorst and Garnacho, Ten Hag turned to his bench and found Sancho and Facundo Pellistri.
Rashford was placed in the middle by Weghorst’s departure, and within minutes, he climbed to meet Diogo Dalot’s cross and scored his 12th goal in 14 games since the World Cup.
When Brenden Aaronson’s free kick hit the post again, Leeds were just inches away from regaining their two-goal advantage.
However, their advantage was quickly eliminated completely 20 minutes later.
Sancho has been out of action for most of the season due to fitness issues, but his return has come at a good time for United, who are still playing in four competitions and have few attacking options.
Luke Shaw’s deflected cross was collected by the England international, and his low shot caught Meslier low to his left.
Ten Hag continued, “He’s all the way back.” We are aware that he is a superb player.
“I believe he can consistently have a significant impact. However, he must work hard. It will inspire him to acquire more.