Jesse Lingard scored his first Manchester United goal as Louis van Gaal’s side beat West Brom.
Winger Lingard, 22, curled home from the edge of the box early in the second half to give the hosts the lead.
Substitute Saido Berahino missed a superb opportunity to equalise late on when he headed over from close range.
Juan Mata then made the win safe from the penalty spot late on after Anthony Martial was fouled by Gareth McAuley, who was sent off.
The victory keeps Manchester United fourth in the Premier League, while West Brom are 12th.
It was also a first win in three league games for the hosts, who have not conceded in 550 minutes.
Attack, Attack, Attack
Manchester United fans are struggling to warm to Louis van Gaal’s defensive style of football, with chants of “attack, attack, attack” heard at Old Trafford during Tuesday’s Champions League win against CSKA Moscow.
Only the Baggies had attempted fewer shots (109) than Manchester United (110) prior to Saturday’s game, but Van Gaal indicated he had no intention of abandoning his conservative approach by naming two defensive midfielders – Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick
– in his starting line-up.
The outcome was, perhaps, predictable, as the hosts, for the most part, lacked the creativity to break down their defence-minded visitors. Only one shot on target was registered in the first half, when Martial shot straight at Boaz Myhill.
However, a moment of quality from Lingard changed the game.
The youngster’s goal forced West Brom to abandon their cautious approach, opening up more gaps at the back for the home side to exploit, ultimately leading to the moment when Martial got through on goal in stoppage time, causing McAuley to give away the decisive penalty.
A star is born?
Lingard put in a man-of-the-match performance against CSKA Moscow in midweek and he impressed once again.
His goal lifted an encounter that was threatening to end in a dull draw, taking one touch to control a clearing header, before finding the far corner with his second.
Lingard has spent recent seasons on loan at Championship clubs Birmingham City and Derby County, but is now keeping Memphis Depay on the bench. If Lingard keeps up his recent form, the Dutch winger is likely to have to be patient for his next opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the first team.
More needed once again from Rooney
Rooney got the winning goal against CSKA Moscow to move into joint second alongside Denis Law in Manchester United’s all-time scorers list with 237 goals.
Yet his return in the Premier League this season has been disappointing, with this blank against West Brom extending his record to two goals in 11 games.
The England international lined up just behind Martial and, while he produced one or two moments of quality, he failed to register a single effort on target.
United fans appreciated his efforts, applauding him off the pitch when he was substituted late on, but they will surely be keen for him to start posing a greater threat in the final third sooner rather than later.