Manchester United’s winless Premier League run stretched to three games as they laboured to a goalless draw against a resolute Southampton at Old Trafford.
United will head into 2018 in third place after Chelsea beat Stoke 5-0 earlier in the day, while Manchester City have the chance to increase their lead to 16 points when they visit Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Striker Romelu Lukaku was taken off on a stretcher for the hosts in the first half, having earlier headed a good chance over the bar.
Paul Pogba did have the ball in the net for Jose Mourinho’s side late on, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
The Portuguese also felt his side should have had a “clear penalty” in the first half when the ball appeared to catch Southampton defender Maya Yoshida’s arm.
But Southampton also had opportunities to win the game.
Goalkeeper David de Gea somehow managed to guide Shane Long’s effort over the crossbar with his foot from Saints’ best chance.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have now gone eight games without a win since the 4-1 thrashing of Everton on 26 November.
Mourinho spoke at length before Saturday’s game about how Lukaku was suffering from fatigue, having played every minute of the club’s Premier League campaign.
The Belgium striker was again chosen to lead the line at Old Trafford, with the Portuguese saying “I cannot rest him”.
After beginning his United career with 11 goals in 10 games Lukaku has netted only four in the last 19, and headed over a good chance from Juan Mata’s inviting cross after just three minutes.
But that would be the 24-year-old’s last involvement, with the striker clashing heads with Southampton defender Wesley Hoedt and having to be taken off on a stretcher.
It was a concerning sight for Mourinho and Manchester United with the game stopped for five minutes as the medical team kept the forward on the pitch before moving him.
Lukaku, who remained conscious, departed to applause from both sets of supporters.