Manchester United move back into fifth place after comfortable victory on Wearside.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford on the score sheet as Sunderland sink closer to relegation.
Black Cats saw midfielder Seb Larsson shown a straight red card at the end of the first-half after a challenge on Ander Herrera.
David Moyes' side remain rock bottom of the Premier League - 10 points adrift of safety with just seven games left.
Full-time: Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United
Marcus Rashford has his goal! On the counter, Pogba frees Ibrahimovic with a brilliant through ball. The Swede has been trying to set up the youngster ever since he came on the pitch and this time he gets it ride, sliding a reverse pass into his path. Denayer is straining to get across to make the block but Rashford gets there first, pinging a precise effort across goal into the far corner.
Goal! Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United (Marcus Rashford, 89)
Martial is punished for his overeagerness after catching Pickford with a late challenge after the Sunderland goalkeeper had swept away a hopeful long ball.
Anthony Martial has now been brought on for Mkhitaryan and is almost on the score sheet straight away, latching onto a through ball and trying to lift it over Pickford. The Sunderland goalkeeper judges its trajectory well however and makes the catch.
Rashford beats Kone in a race to a loose ball but the United youngster gets a nasty stamp after a lazy challenge from the Sunderland defender. The resulting free-kick comes to nothing.
United have so much space on the counter but they are still looking incredibly toothless in front of goal. Another chance goes begging as Ibrahimovic fails to take the ball down at the first time of asking, inviting the Sunderland defender to hack clear.
United pass up another chance to kill this one off completely. On the break, Ibrahimovic generously plays the ball across goal for Rashford, but his pass is overcooked. Rashford retrieves, sliding it back inside to Mkhitaryan who gives it to Ibrahimovic, but his efforts to burst through two Sunderland defenders get him nowhere.
Change for Sunderland, Fabio Borini replaces Cattermole.
Unlucky from Defoe. Sunderland advance on the counter through N;Dong who looks inside to the Sunderland striker, who gets the ball on the edge of the box. He gains a yard on Bailly before lashing his effort on goal but it's just over the bar.
Here's another change for United. Jesse Lingard, who accidentally got studs to the head a moment ago following a challenge with Manqillo, is replaced by Marcus Rashford.
Aside from that silly yellow card, that was another encouraging performance from Shaw.
First change for United; Daley Blind comes on for Shaw. Whether that's a) a precaution after hurting his ankle a few moments ago, b) an effort to rest him for Thursday or c) Jose being Jose, we don't know.
Oh Pogba. Ibrahimovic brilliantly heads into space behind him, inviting Pogba to lash a volley on goal. Except he doesn't get it on goal. Or even close to being on goal. It's miles over.
N'Dong neatly nutmegs Shaw in the final third with the full-back stepping across to block his run. It's a Sunderland free-kick, but there is a moment of concern for Shaw who is down clutching his ankle.
Replays show N'Dong appeared to accidentally catch him, but Shaw is soon back on his feet.
Anyway, back to the free-kick. Defoe whips it over the wall; Romero saves. As you were.
I tell you what, despite United's comfortable lead, Pogba has endured another pretty woeful afternoon so far. His passing has been awfully loose and he is losing physical duels you;d usually expect him to dominate.
OOOF. The Stadium of Light shakes as Ibrahimovic and Pickford collide on the edge of the box. The Swede had earnestly chased a through ball from Herrera but the Black Cats goalkeeper is out bravely to batter it away. The two smash into each other with Zlatan looking the slightly worse for wear, but after a quick handshake between the two, play continues.
Oh my. The first time Sunderland touch the ball in the second half is Pickford picking the ball out of the back of his own net. Mkhitaryan advances towards the box, with Kone standing off him, not looking the slightest bit interested in defending.
Invited to take the shot on, the Armenian drills a low effort into the far corner. No chance again for the Sunderland goalkeeper who was let down by his teammates.
Goal! Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 46)
And United get us back underway for the second half.
Half-time: Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United
Herrera is being booed by the home fans every time he touches the ball for the crime of being involved in that red card incident. He blazes a wild shot over the bar in the last action of the half.
Three minutes of injury time added on.
This is a huge ask for Sunderland now; they need half-time to regroup here.
Sunderland's woes grow. Seb Larsson is gone, judged to have gone over the ball while sliding in to challenge Herrera. It's a dangerous challenge, but Sunderland will feel that is harsh.
RED CARD: Seb Larsson (Sunderland)
What a save by Romero! Anichebe does magnificently, taking the ball down and turning Bailly in one fluid movement to open up space for the shot inside the six yard area. He lashes an effort on goal, but Romero is out to make himself big and makes a decisive block.
Oviedo's game is over; Javier Manquillo comes onto replace him. Just over five minutes of the first-half remaining.
More woe for David Moyes. Oviedo isn't able to continue after appearing to hurt his hamstring while lunging for the ball in a duel with Lingard.
Chance for Fellaini! Shaw plays a superb one-two with Mkhitaryan, getting the ball back to lift in a superb cross in towards the big Belgian. He only has to tap home from a couple of yards out, but the ball bounces off him, inviting Pickford to come and out claim.
That goal has settled United down. Pogba almost threads Lingard through to find a second but his pass is just an inch short.
From nothing, Ibrahimovic produces the game's opener! He's had an awful start to the game but that was sublime from the Swede; receiving the ball with his back to goal with Jones and Kone for company before turning both and hammering a vicious effort into the far corner. No chance for Pickford there.
Goal! Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United (Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 29)
Pickford denies Lingard! The United midfield twists and turns past a couple of Sunderland defenders, opening up the room for the shot on the edge of the box. He looks to place one in the bottom corner but the Sunderland goalkeeper gets to it.
Much, much better from Sunderland. Cattermole lifts a splendid ball over the United backline into the path of Defoe, who looks for the far corner. He drags his effort just wide, but the offside flag was up anyway.
Encouraging stuff from Sunderland. From that Oviedo interception, the home side pass the ball neatly upfield with it eventually finding its way to Cattermole. He lines up a shot from the edge of the box but his powerful effort is straight at Romero.
Ibrahimovic gives the ball away again with his flicked pass easily picked out by Oviedo. This match has been a bit of a stinker so far, in all honesty.
Shaw is freed down the left and races into space with Defoe for company. Tracking back, he does brilliantly to put the left-back under pressure and win a goal kick for his side.
United have had a wretched last few minutes. Ibrahimovic aimlessly passes straight into the feet of a Sunderland player twice in quick succession and Pogba, out on the right, tries a trick to beat Denayer that the Black Cats defender easily reads to take possession back.
Oviedo gets his effort through the wall but it is an easy catch for Romero.
That was incredibly stupid from Rojo. The Argentine swings his boot clean over Defoe's head as the Sunderland striker wins the ball; it's a clear high boot. It couldn't get any higher. Sunderland have a free kick from 25 yards out.
Sunderland have grown into this contest in the last five minutes. Jermain Defoe is still looking a little isolated but N'Dong is beginning to get a grip of things in midfield.
Shaw picks up the first yellow card of the game. N'Dong invites the challenges, effectively holding up the ball as the left-back recklessly charges through the back of him. It's the most obvious booking you'll see all weekend. That'll please Jose.
Sunderland venture forward for the first time, finding passes upfield before Anichebe fights his way to the byline, winning a corner off Darmian.
It's all United at the moment. Darmian does well to win back the ball after a sloppy Fellaini pass and moves it onto Ibrahimovic. He threads it through neatly with a first-time backheel with Lingard running onto it but he's just about muscled off the ball by Kone.
Ibrahimovic's effort flicks over the wall and out for a corner kick. Sunderland manage to ease the pressure on themselves from that, with N'Dong doing well to hold off his man before winning a free kick for his side.
United win another free kick right on the edge of the box; Sunderland fail to clear Shaw's corner with Rojo tumbling over under pressure from Seb Larsson. Zlatan stands over it.
Lingard has been in the wars in these opening four minutes; Cattermole now catches him as he bursts past but the resulting free kick gets United nowhere.
Shaw embarks on a run down the left and looks inside for Lingard. Suddenly, the United midfielder has loads of room in front of him about 25 yards out from goal with Cattermole standing off, inviting Lingard to shoot. His effort is on target, but it is catching practice for Pickford.
Referee Craig Pawson awards United an early free kick as Bryan Oviedo catches the trailing leg of Jesse Lingard.
And Sunderland get us underway at the Stadium of Light.
Speaking to Sky Sports, David Moyes admits Sunderland are in a situation where they "have to gamble" on Victor Anichebe. The Black Cats boss admits the striker could "do with some more playing time" but having not scored in six matches, needs must.
David Moyes makes just one change to the side that lost to Leicester midweek, with Victor Anichebe coming in for Fabio Borini to try and address the club's woeful barren spell in front of goal.
John O'Shea doesn't feature today having returned to Ireland after a bereavement. Lee Cattermole starts his game at the Stadium of Light since September and will do so wearing the captain's armband in O'Shea's absence. Steven Pienaar meanwhile makes the bench.
Jose Mourinho says winning the Europa League is now United's top priority and that is reflected in his team today. Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick and Anthony Martial are all rested this afternoon, although there is more than enough talent in the starting XI to secure the right result.
The United boss has made five changes in all to the side that drew with Everton midweek with Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all coming in. Shaw starts for the just the second Premier League game since October 2016.
With Carrick rested and Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney not in the squad, Marouane Fellaini wears the captain's armband today.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Jose Mourinho confirms David de Gea has a "little problem" which means he has been unable to travel to Wearside today. The United boss expects the Spain international to be available again for next weekend's meeting with Chelsea.
Sunderland team to face Manchester United: Pickford, Jones, Oviedo, Denayer, Kone, Larsson, Rodwell, Cattermole, Ndong, Anichebe, Defoe
Subs: Manone, Djilobodji, Borini, Pienaar, Khazri, Manquillo, Gibson
Manchester United team to face Sunderland: Romero, Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Pogba, Mhkitaryan, Ibrahimovic
Subs: Pereira, Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah, Blind, Carrick, Martial, Rashford
BREAKING: Victor Anichebe comes back into the Sunderland starting XI, starting his first game since January up front alongside Jermain Defoe.
BREAKING: David de Gea misses out, Luke Shaw named in United's starting XI, making just his third league start in six months.
Luke Shaw is in the house. He replaced Ashley Young against Everton on Tuesday and had a pretty decisive role in forcing United's equaliser that night, with his goal-bound shot striking the hand of Ashley Williams with Zlatan Ibrahimovic duly dispatching the spot kick.
Jose Mourinho has made it clear winning the Europa League is now the club's priority. What sort of effect will that have on his team selection today with a trip to Anderlecht looming on Thursday?
Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard started in wide roles against Everton midweek, with neither man proving particularly effective against the Toffees. Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan had been dropped for that match for equally ineffective performances last weekend against West Brom, posing the curious question; who the heck deserves to start?
One thing seems for sure, Antonio Valencia is expected to be restored at right-back after he was given the night off midweek. And with no one else available, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly seem certain to start at centre-half again.
Speaking of Januzaj; he had a pretty significant role to play the last time United managed a win at the Stadium of Light. Remember his full debut?
There will be no Adnan Januzaj today but taking on board the views of sections of the Sunderland support, that is no big loss. The Belgium international has made just 24 appearances across all competitions and was subjected to jeers from his own supporters after being withdrawn for the final 20 minutes of last weekend's narrow defeat to Watford. David Moyes also left him on the bench for the midweek defeat to Leicester City, despite knowing he would have no role to play today.
With his loan spell on Wearside coming to an end, does the youngster have a future at Old Trafford? Jose Mourinho says he has already made a decision on that front, but won't let us know which way he is leaning.
Asked during a prematch press conference on Friday if he had made his mind up on the player's future, the manager said: "I have decided." But when asked if he could say what this is, replied: "Not to you."
David Moyes on bringing Victor Anichebe back in
"We're in a position where we're having to take as many risks as we can. I think he's ready to play 90 minutes? No. Do I think he could play part of the game? Yes, I think he could. But ultimately, you never know.
"We have relied on Jermain a lot for his goals. I hope he's got another half-dozen or so to get before the end of the season but we definitely need other people to contribute as well."
Team news: Sunderland
Victor Anichebe has not started a game since January after suffering a knee injury but returned to action off the bench during the midweek defeat to Leicester City. The former Everton striker had struck up an effective partnership with Jermain Defoe and David Moyes is eager for the two to reignite that magic as quickly as possible, with the 28-year-old in line to start today.
Adnan Januzaj however won't be involved today, he is not eligible to play against his parent club.
Jose Mourinho on injuries
"Rooney is not available. Young is injured and there is no more news, because with Mata, Smalling and Jones you already know we are speaking about old injuries."
Team news: Manchester United
Jose Mourinho is without five members of his squad this afternoon. Juan Mata is recovering from a groin operation he underwent last week with reports suggesting the Spaniard is targeting the second leg of United's Europa League quarter-final with Anderlecht as a possible return date.
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones also remain out, meaning Jose Mourinho's centre-half partnership of Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo effectively picks itself. Elsewhere, Wayne Rooney is unavailable while Ashley Young is nursing an injury he picked up in the 1-1 draw with Everton.
Sunderland are rapidly approaching the point of no return this season. 10 points adrift of safety and having failed to score a single goal since the first week of February, relegation now seems inevitable with eight games of a miserable campaign remaining.
Throughout their wretched season, the Black Cats have always had one thing on their side; one thing their relegation rivals don't have: A consistent and potent goal scorer. But when Jermain Defoe doesn't score, they don't score. It's a woeful indictment of the lack of quality running through David Moyes' poorly assembled party of mediocrity.
Given Manchester United's discouraging performances as of late, we aren't expecting a goal feast this afternoon. Their inability to put away chances has marred their campaign is the chief reason why they are looking likely to finish outside of the Champions League places rather than battling for a top three finish.
Winning the Europa League is now their priority, something which may be reflected in Jose Mourinho's starting XI today. Theoretically, that should work in Sunderland's favour. But that will also require them to summon some effort first.
Stick around, all your team news is on its way.
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