And a header on the hour by Norwich winger Anthony Pilkington — a former Manchester United trainee — ended up consigning Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to their third defeat of the season after only 12 matches of the campaign.
United were forced to do without Wayne Rooney because of tonsilitis but fellow striker Robin van Persie from Holland had been passed fit after missing a mid-week international friendly because of a thigh strain.
Anders Lindegaard kept goal for the visitors, with youngster Sam Johnstone on the bench because David de Gea had to visit the dentist because of a swollen jaw. The visitors made a bright start, with van Persie forcing Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy into an early save as Roy Hodgson, the England manager, watched from the stands.
Norwich replied with efforts from Robert Snodgrass and Pilkington that only narrowly failed to hit the target and that was also the case at the other end, where Ryan Giggs’ corner was hit first time by van Persie.