Nemanja Vidic briefly pulled the guests back to level terms midway through the second half, but in the end the Black Cats prevailed after Borini converted from the spot following Tom Cleverley’s tackle on Adam Johnson that resulted in a penalty.
United have now lost three successive matches in three different competitions.
De Gea: Had no chance on the opener.
Rafael: Adding a decent attacking element, especially with Valencia MIA.
Vidic: Won 80% of his aerials to remind United fans what they’ll miss when he doesn’t renew his contract in the summer.
Evans: Needs to be far better on the ball.
Evra: Played in a delightful cross that nearly had United in front late in the period.
Carrick: Has so far completed 91% of his passes.
Cleverley: Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Valencia: A very poor period from the Ecuador international.
Giggs: Showing the intensity of a player half his age.
Januzaj: Had the ball in the back of the net, although the goal was disallowed for offside.
Welbeck: Some good hold-up play, although his instincts off the ball need to be better.
De Gea: Was beaten by on a deflected set-piece and penalty kick.
Rafael: Was very, very lucky to still be on the pitch at the final whistle after a bad foul followed a yellow card for his afters on the Cleverley penalty.
Vidic: Might have scored his final goal for United.
Evans: Will have done nothing to suggest United don't need at least one more centre-back.
Evra: Outplayed by Bardsley on that flank.
Carrick: His distribution was typically accurate, although he missed Giggs with a good chance in the final minutes.
Cleverley: One of his poorer matches for the Red Devils.
Valencia: Withdrawn in favour of Hernandez following an abysmal 87 minutes.
Giggs: Played the full 90 and was one of his side's better performers throughout.
Januzaj: Came close to finding the net on a number of occasions and was United's best attacker at the Stadium of Light.
Welbeck: Took three shots but never really troubled Mannone.
Smalling: Replaced Evans after the Northern Irishman picked up a knock.
Fletcher: Helped settle the United midfield after replacing Cleverley
Hernandez: Was deployed far too late in the proceedings to make an impact.