With new manager Harry Redknapp watching from the stands, QPR made a resolute start at Old Trafford.
Redknapp inherits a struggling side from Mark Hughes, whose team selection – made before he was fired on Friday morning – reflected the Welshman’s desire to get back to basics with the help of Rangers’ most trusted players.
Esteban Granero was dropped to the bench along with Anton Ferdinand, Junior Hoilett and Samba Diakite.
Stalwarts Clint Hill, Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie were given starting places, while Stephane Mbia returned from a three-match ban.
The changes had a noticeable effect, with Rangers much more solid than their thrown-together band of big-name signings have been so far this season.
A great last-ditch challenge by Derry thwarted Paul Scholes, while Robin van Persie and Ashley Young both fired wide as Manchester United dominated much of the first half.
Rangers threatened on the counter-attack and had the ball in the net when Mackie headed in, but the effort was rightly ruled out for offside.
QPR: Julio Cesar, Dyer, Hill, Nelsen, Mbia, Traore, Derry, Faurlin, Mackie, Taarabt, Cisse. Subs: Green, Diakite, Ferdinand, Wright-Phillips, Granero, Ephraim, Hoilett.