WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) - Manchester United eased the pressure on manager David Moyes following a comfortable 3-0 win over relegation-threatened West Brom on Saturday in the English Premier League.
After a week that saw Moyes write to fans - addressing the ‘difficult season’ that has seen the club exit both domestic cup competitions and struggle in the Champions League - his side responded in a commanding fashion.
“We were more creative and created more opportunities and we played well today. Overall, our play merited to go in front and, when we did, we controlled chunks of the game,” said a relieved Moyes.
Moyes‘ counterpart Pepe Mel admitted his future was now out of his hands after failing to secure a single win in seven matches since taking over at The Hawthorns.
“I don’t know that, it doesn’t depend on me,” said Mel when asked about his future prospects.
The Baggies secured a shock 2-1 victory in Manchester earlier in the season - their first at Old Trafford since 1978 - and had been aiming to do the double over United.
Morgan Amalfitano was denied by David De Gea shortly before the half-hour mark, with the United stopper saving his header at the near post, following Chris Brunt’s left-wing cross.
Seconds later at the other end, Ben Foster was called upon, tipping Rafael’s header onto the bar after Adnan Januzaj’s delivery.
Phil Jones opened the scoring for the visitors in the 34th minute, heading past Foster courtesy of an expert free kick from Robin Van Persie.
Albion ‘keeper Foster then made a mess of an attempted clearance, as he raced off his line to intercept a ball for Van Persie. The England international miscued his kick and the ball bounced up onto his hand outside the area. Referee Jonathan Moss quickly dismissed any appeals for Foster to be sent off.
United doubled its lead after the interval following a fluid move. A neat exchange between Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata saw the latter roll the ball wide for Rafael, and his cross was met by a completely unmarked Rooney in the 65th.
Substitute Danny Welbeck added a third in the 82nd minute following another well-worked move that once again involved Mata and Rooney.
“We were hurt after losing to Olympiakos and we wanted to come and show everyone we’re a good team,” Rooney said.
He added: “We’ll fight for our shirt and for our place in the team. We played with great energy and we always looked a threat. The goals were well deserved and there maybe could have been more.”
Michael Carrick praised his teammates’ efforts.