West Ham boss Slaven Bilic applauded his players for overcoming a sense of paralysis caused by leading at Old Trafford before grinding out a point against draw specialists Manchester United on Sunday.
Striker Diafra Sakko, making only his second start of the campaign, handed the Hammers a dream start courtesy of an early headed goal, only for former Barcelona hitman Zlatan Ibrahimovic to crash the party and level before half time.
Goalkeeper Darren Randolph, again preferred to regular No1 Adrian, made a series of saves in the second half to safeguard a point, which moved West Ham above Crystal Palace to 16th in the Premier League.
“It might have been more but it is a great point for us, especially as we played well,” said Bilic, whose side are winless in four matches. “I have to praise the players as they showed character, commitment and quality, especially in the second half.
“In the first half, when we scored, we were a little bit afraid because we were winning at Old Trafford and then until they scored we lost too many balls.
“In the second half, we told the players to go on them and I was very pleased with how we played. You can’t attack here all the time. They tried to press when they lose the ball and if you get out of that, there is a lot of space.”
Sakho scored his first West Ham goal since May with only two minutes on the clock as he evaded the attentions of Ibrahimovic to head home Dimitri Payet’s free-kick.
Ibrahimovic made amends for his part in Sakho’s opener by nodding midfielder Paul Pogba’s dinked pass beyond Randolph on 21 minutes.
United manager Jose Mourinho was then sent to the stands for the second time in a month after kicking a water bottle in frustration at £89m midfielder Pogba being shown a yellow card for diving.
Randolph twice denied Ibrahimovic in the second period, while he also thwarted Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard as a fourth successive home draw kept United 11 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.