But after Marcus Rashford's stoppage-time victor, which gave United a 2-1 victory, Jose Mourinho's team now head into a heavyweight week in the Champions League and Premier League on the back of two straight wins.
"I have to wait until Monday", said the Portuguese after Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford struck in Lukaku's absence at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
But while he admitted that task remains a work in progress, he believes United are showing the powers of recovery required to overcome setbacks and turn games around. A first half that could should be game over 5-2, 6-2, easily, and in the second-half until we scored I was feeling we were a very unlucky team because in second half we should score three, four or five goals and we didn't so is what we traditionally call a game of two halves.
'The first half, I think we learned from that and we showed that in the second half and on Wednesday you will see a difference'. Mourinho has come in for a whole heap of criticism this season but they have now picked up ten points from their last 12 available, only Ross Barkley's last-gasp equaliser prevented them from making it a full complement.
United have kept just one clean sheet in 11 Premier League games this season.
"I don't think the problem is going forward".
"We were disappointed at half-time that we weren't winning and we felt that we deserved to be leading by more than one". Mourinho's side were fortunate to be level at half-time but after the restart, they improved the longer the game went on and should have claimed a decisive second goal after Young struck the bar with a free-kick.
"I think we need somebody in there like Herrera".
And speaking to BT Sport after the game, Mourinho paid credit to Herrera for the impact he made after coming on early in the second half.
The 27-year-old is certainly the best player we have at United and was brilliant in our 2-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.