Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw struck early in each half at the Etihad Stadium as United inflicted a first defeat on their rivals since November.
The defeat cut City’s lead over United at the top of the Premier League to 11 points and, while it may be a stretch to suggest the title race has been reignited, it has slowed what was looking like a procession.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stopped short of claiming the victory will act as a springboard to catch City in the title race this season, telling Sky Sports: “We just take one game at a time; City are too far ahead for us to think we can catch them. Last year we caught 15 points up on Leicester, but City are a different proposition.
“Even today they put us under so much pressure you could see we were playing against a very good team. When you come away with a 2-0 win and another clean sheet and a performance like this then you are delighted.
“Every game is different. We went back to be a little bit what we wanted to be and that’s being direct. That was the Anthony Martial of old. Until two hours before warm-up I wasn’t sure if he’d play. Today he rediscovered himself. He was really strong on the ball and very positive.
“We have to be positive, we’re a positive team. We want to play at a high tempo, but we have to defend well, you have to defend to attack the spaces that appear. There has to be a collective, no team in world football has a chance against them [City] without being a collective, hungry team who knows you have to defend well but also be positive on the ball.”