Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United moved into the top four of the Premier League after a convincing win over relegation-threatened Fulham.
Goals from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial gave United their 10th victory in 11 games under Solskjaer. The Frenchmen scored 15 minutes apart at Craven Cottage before Pogba secured all three points when he placed past Rico from the penalty spot.
Solskjaer made six changes to the side that won 1-0 at Leicester, with in-form Rashford being dropped to the bench for Lukaku. Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot were all brought in, as United prepare for PSG in the Champions League on Tuesday, but Fulham were unable to trouble the back four and remain in the relegation zone.
Fulham started brightly in the first 10 minutes and nearly took the lead in the second minute of the game when Luciano Vietto failed to connect with Andre Schurrle’s cross and screwed his effort wide. Schurrle, on loan from Borussia Dortmund, had an attempt tipped over by David de Gea after Aleksandar Mitrovic headed down Joe Bryan’s cross to worry the visitors.
Manchester United broke the deadlock in the 14th minute when Pogba scored his 12th of the season when he latched onto Martial’s through ball before smashing the ball into the top corner from a tight angle to beat Sergio Rico.
Anthony Martial put in a sensational display and was rewarded with a goal in the 23rd minute with a brilliant solo goal. Martial started his run in his own half before skipping past Denis Odoi and Maxime le Marchand before finding the bottom corner to put United into a commanding lead.
Despite their two earlier sights on goal, Fulham showed no sign of producing another comeback from 2-0 down: they beat Brighton 4-2 from that scoreline. Captain Mitrovic had a header saved from de Gea on 72 minutes before Ryan Babel hit the post from a yard out, providing Manchester United more ammunition to give the former Liverpool player more stick.
Pogba scored his seventh goal in nine Premier League games under Solskjaer when he tucked away a penalty after Le Marchand fouled Juan Mata in the area. With a couple of big games coming up for the Red Devils, Ander Herrera, Pogba and Martial were all withdrawn for protection ahead of tests against PSG and Chelsea.
Manager Claudio Ranieri received shouts of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ from home fans after Schurrle was replaced by defender Cyrus Christie and the Italian manager now only has 12 games left to salvage the Cottagers season.
For Fulham, they face West Ham and Southampton next before a run of tough tests against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, whilst United will be hoping to remain in both the FA Cup and Champions League.
This article was written by Josh Holland. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.