With just over an hour on the clock, Cleverley appeared to strike the ball onto the hand of Frank Lampard from close-range, prompting mass appeals for a penalty inside Old Trafford. However, referee Martin Atkinson was having none of it and immediately waved play on.
When quizzed on the incident, the Reds starlet was impressively diplomatic in his response. “It was obviously in the heat of the moment, but I think it is one of them; you are disappointed that you didn’t get it but if it was given against you, you would be just as disappointed. I thought his hands were up and it could have been given - you’ve seen them given. But you get some and others you don’t.”
On the whole, the match was one of few chances as both teams produced a couple of fine defensive displays, adding credibility to the suggestion that this season’s title race will be one of the closest in years. And although victory was out of reach, Cleverley wasn’t too down.
“We’re disappointed not to get the three points but I had a feeling it would be that type of the game, with it being so early in the season and two teams fighting for the title,” he told MUTV. “It was a very tactical game. We are not too disappointed though, we haven’t lost any ground but we always like to take the initiative by