Second-half goals from Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford ensured Manchester United moved to within two points of the Champions League places with a morale-boosting 3-1 win at Brentford.
Ralf Rangnick’s side were indebted to the brilliance of David de Gea in the first half as he twice kept out efforts from Mathias Jensen from point-blank range.
But United punished Brentford’s profligacy in the second period as Elanga met Fred’s cross to score only his second league goal for the club (55) before Greenwood tapped home Bruno Fernandes’ pass (62) for his first league goal since October.
Cristiano Ronaldo looked disgruntled as he was replaced by Marcus Rashford, but Rangnick’s change was vindicated as the substitute’s tidy finish from another Fernandes pass put the seal on an impressive second-half showing (72).
The result means United stay in seventh place in the Premier League courtesy of Tottenham’s 3-2 win at Leicester earlier on Wednesday – but now level on points with Arsenal in sixth.
Ivan Toney scrambled home his fifth Premier League goal of the season – and only third in open play – with five minutes remaining but Brentford remain in 14th place on 23 points, still 10 points clear of the relegation zone.