Six draws in their last nine league games had eroded United's hopes of a top-four finish and victory over Sunderland was imperative if they were to stay in touch.
United had plenty of chances to extend its lead as Sunderland tried to get back in the game and finally took one in the 90th.
"I feel like Benjamin Button - I was born old and I will die young". "I didn't think we started too well but we'd began to grow into the game, but that was it [after the second goal]". "The Premier League we cannot win, but Europa League we can".
"The result was good", said United manager Jose Mourinho, whose side will return to sixth place if Arsenal win at Crystal Palace on Monday.
According to The Mirror though, it might not be as straight-forward as it seems as it's claimed that Mourinho has already made his mind up about selling the England worldwide at the end of the season but the club have suggested to him to play Shaw more often to drive his valuation back up. We were playing quite compact and solid.
Mourinho said: "After Liverpool and Manchester City's victories, if we didn't win today it's nearly mathematically impossible [to finish fourth]".
Mourinho did not stop there and further hailed the team's overall efforts, saying that United displayed a solid performance against a "sad" team.
"It was a good win and we have to keep focus and keep working and keep believing we can reach the top four", The Swede told Sky Sports. "I believe in myself and I know what I'm able to do", said Ibrahimovic, whose United future beyond this season remains undecided.
But Lukaku equalised in the 23rd minute, heading in an exquisite cross by Ross Barkley, and after Phil Jagielka had headed in from a corner, Lukaku smashed in his second with over half an hour to play.
Moyes said: "We'll have a look at it".
"Seb got the ball", he said. "It's not even a booking". But we have to fight for it.
"So I agree that by the physical point of view the guy is showing all season no problems". There's no hiding the fact we're in a hard position, but we have a home game next and let's see if we can get a win and get some momentum.