United revival continues with win at Fulham
Manchester United recorded back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time this season after three early goals laid the foundations for a convincing 3-1 victory at Fulham on Saturday.
Antonio Valencia set David Moyes's side on their way with a ninth-minute opener before Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney struck in quick succession to effectively secure the points by the 22nd minute.
Alex Kacaniklic pulled one back for Fulham in the 65th minute with a shot that deflected in off the boot of Rooney, but despite steady second-half pressure, there was little danger of a home recovery.
The win, United's fourth on the run in all competitions, eased the pressure on Moyes, who has been forced to withstand criticism during a difficult start to his managerial career at Old Trafford.
The focus will now shift to the Champions League and next week's trip to face Real Sociedad, when a further victory will reinforce the feeling that United's season is finally gathering steam.
The size of United's half-time advantage even allowed Moyes to make three changes at half-time, with one eye on the trip to the Basque country.
The win came with the additional benefit that it meant Moyes's side gained ground on Chelsea, who had lost 2-0 at Newcastle United earlier in the day.
There is clearly more work to do, but the performances of Rooney and Van Persie in particular were pleasing for Moyes.
The manager described the pair as potentially the best front two in the world ahead of the match and it took just nine minutes for them to combine, with Van Persie releasing Rooney behind the Fulham defence.
Rooney kept his nerve and squared for Valencia, who side-footed home for his first league goal of the season.
Fulham offered little, although former United striker Dimitar Berbatov had a good chance in the 19th minute.
United survived and to compound the home side's frustration, Moyes's side immediately went up the other end of the pitch and scored a controversial second.
Scott Parker was convinced he had been fouled as he was dispossessed by Adnan Januzaj and Van Persie subsequently got the benefit of a close offside decision after being played through by the youngster.
But there was no doubt about the quality of the Dutchman's finish as he produced a stunning shot that flew into the roof of the net.
Sixty seconds later the game was effectively over as Van Persie turned provider, getting in behind the Fulham defence and squaring for Rooney to tap home from close range.
Fulham were down and out and the home crowd expressed their displeasure by directing their frustration towards manager Martin Jol.
The dissent might have grown in volume had Fulham not improved in the second half, when they took advantage of United's desire to preserve their legs.
Kacaniklic struck after cutting in from the left and United were unable to find a way of relieving the pressure.
And when Darren Bent headed against the bar after coming on as a late substitute, home hopes grew that they might come back into the game.
But United stood firm and confirmed that they are finally finding their feet.