José Mourinho's men reached the ground just one hour before the kickoff against Leicester after the coach of his team got stuck in traffic making a three-mile trip from his hotel.
But they were not late on the pitch, as Paul Pogba scored an early penalty, who else could he be after the week he had, before Luke Shaw was the unlikely scorer of the second.
Finally, José Mourinho could smile after a summer of frowning.
This will at least put on hold the conversation that the grumpy manager is heading to another merger of the third season to replicate his days in Chelsea.
The United boss spent the preseason minimizing the chances of obtaining titles in the Premier League, criticizing the players and complaining about his transfer activity.
He predicted that his team would face a "difficult" campaign if they did not add a new central defender and a right wing before the transfer deadline was met.
They failed to meet their demands, but they had a winning start against Leicester at least.
Mourinho even moaned at having to play first Friday night in his pregame program notes, citing less preparation time than his rivals.
But finally the Old Trafford boss had something to cheer about after a summer of fearing the worst, as they got the first three points of the season on the board.
After getting ready before the game, it took them 77 seconds to get up.
Alexis Sánchez's shot hit Daniel Amartey's arm and referee Andre Marriner pointed the point.
If it feels as if it were written that Pogba would stand up and, after an argument with Sanchez over who should take it, he gave up the penalty.
The French World Cup winner started the week looking to leave the club but ended up with a goal with the captain's armband.
Mourinho said in the summer that Antonio Valencia would be the captain this season, but in his absence he was handed over to the Frenchman.
Maybe it was a move to keep the mid-career player happy and convince him that staying here is better than going to Barcelona.
Pogba showed no signs of being distracted, as he acted in midfield with the impressive Andreas Pereira, who had a deserved start after an excellent preseason.
Fred – the £ 52m signing of Shakhtar Donetsk – also showed that it could be a useful addition, but Leicester was also in this game, as Kelechi Iheanacho approached from the start.
United's number 1 David De Gea could have had a nightmarish World Cup with Spain, but he was back in form to achieve an amazing 33-minute rescue to deny James Maddison.
Mourinho wanted a new central defender, but Eric Bailly gave him some reminders that he already has a superior one, especially with a last-minute tackle on Iheanacho after the break.
Substitute Jamie Vardy knocked Luke Shaw off the corner with 15 minutes left and crossed for Demarai Gray, but De Gea got another good save from the header.
Romelu Lukaku came off the bench and should have sealed the win at the end after Sanchez put the ball, but Kasper Schmeichel saved his shot home.
However, it would not matter if Shaw, a player who has been on the wrong side of Mourinho so many times, flew home with his first high-level goal.
Vardy headed home a consolation in injury time after Ricardo's cross bounced against him from the post, but caused no pain to United.