Manchester United kept their slim hopes of a top-four Premier League finish alive with victory at lowly West Brom.

A Rafael header was tipped onto the crossbar before United took the lead when Phil Jones powered in a header.

The Baggies exerted some pressure in search of an equaliser and striker Victor Anichebe angled a shot wide.

However, United secured the win when Wayne Rooney headed in from close range and Danny Welbeck provided a cool finish after a well-worked move.

Moyes praises 'creative' United

It was a comfortable victory for the visitors as they restored some pride after the 2-0 Champions League defeat by Olympiakos in their previous game, and avenged a 2-1 defeat by the Baggies in the reverse fixture in September.

The Red Devils are nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have two games in hand, and 11 adrift of both Liverpool and Arsenal, who - like United - have played 28 matches.

West Brom, meanwhile, are still searching their first win under Pepe Mel, who after seven matches in charge sees his side only above the relegation zone on goal difference, having won just once in 18 league games.

The Spaniard is coming under increasing pressure, with games against fellow relegation rivals Swansea, Cardiff and Norwich to come in the next month.

But for United counterpart David Moyes, the victory will help ease the burden after he admitted this week he had endured a more "difficult" campaign than he envisaged when he took over from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson's farewell after more than 26 years in charge came with an action-packed 5-5 draw at The Hawthorns at the end of last season, but this match took a while to spring to life.

Analysis

"West Brom manager Pepe Mel is still winless. United boss David Moyes will not be feeling the pressure so much. He has praised recent performances while bemoaning results, but this time he got both. West Brom were spirited but United were just better."

The first piece of goalmouth action came when United midfielder Marouane Fellaini's header was nodded towards his own goal by Baggies skipper Chris Brunt, but Youssouf Mulumbu cleared off the goalline.

United soon went close again as Adnan Januzaj crossed to the far post, where the unmarked Rafael's header was tipped onto the crossbar by Ben Foster.

The home side failed to heed the warnings and went behind when Robin van Persie whipped in a pacy free-kick and centre-back Jones powered a header past Foster.

The goal belatedly stirred Albion into producing a greater attacking threat, and Claudio Yacob sent an effort just over from close range, the ball flying off his shoulder.

Anichebe then held off Jones before turning and angling a shot wide as the home side went close again.

Both sides then felt decisions went against them. First Foster came out of his area to make a clearance only to miss the ball, which bounced up and struck his hand.

Referee Jon Moss took no action, and also kept his card in his pocket when the home side felt Van Persie should have been booked for a second time for a challenge on Steven Reid.

And Albion were punished for those earlier missed chances when Rafael crossed for Rooney to head in at the far post.

Welbeck put the finishing touch to the victory when, after Fellaini and Rooney combined to tee him up, he controlled expertly before slotting past the advancing Foster.

West Brom boss Pepe Mel:

"Manchester United is a big club and a strong team but today, for us, it is about luck.

Van Persie should have been off - Mel

"We had three players come off injured and Van Persie not getting a second yellow is very important in the match. It is a yellow, but the referee is the boss."

Asked about his future: "It doesn't depend on me. The only thing I am thinking about is working tomorrow and putting all my energy into making sure West Brom win at Swansea.

"The next four matches are very important for us. We need 11 men, 11 good professional players and a good mentality."

Manchester United manager David Moyes:

"It was more like it. We were more creative and played well. It's never the easiest of places to come and we had lost to them earlier in the season so it was good to get a good result.

"We earned the right to be in front. When we did, we sort of controlled chunks of the game.

"I think the [Van Persie] tackle is a foul but not a second booking. If it is, we are all going soft.

"All areas pleased me today. There were some very good performances. Marouane Fellaini did really well, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were excellent.

"I thought the two boys up front were fabulous, with Juan [Mata] and Adnan [Januzaj]."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

West Bromwich Albion

  • 01 Foster
  • 02 Reid (Sessegnon - 60' )
  • 06 Ridgewell
  • 21 Mulumbu
  • 23 McAuley
  • 03 Olsson
  • 18 Amalfitano
  • 05 Yacob (Morrison - 40' )
  • 16 Anichebe Booked
  • 22 Gera
  • 11 Brunt (Berahino - 66' )

Substitutes

  • 07 Morrison
  • 13 Myhill
  • 20 Vydra
  • 25 Dawson
  • 29 Sessegnon
  • 38 Berahino
  • 50 Bifouma Koulossa

Manchester United

  • 01 de Gea
  • 02 Rafael (Vidic - 87' )
  • 03 Evra
  • 16 Carrick
  • 12 Smalling
  • 04 Jones
  • 08 Mata
  • 31 Fellaini
  • 20 van Persie Booked (Welbeck - 63' )
  • 10 Rooney
  • 44 Januzaj Booked (Kagawa - 76' )

Substitutes

  • 11 Giggs
  • 13 Lindegaard
  • 15 Vidic
  • 18 Young
  • 19 Welbeck
  • 24 Fletcher
  • 26 Kagawa
Ref: Jonathan Moss
Att: 26,184

Match Stats

Shots

14 14

On target

3 5

Corners

3 5

Fouls

11 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 0, Manchester United 3.

90:00 +3:01 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 0, Manchester United 3.

90:00 +2:22

Attempt saved. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Michael Carrick with a headed pass.

90:00 +0:15

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:15

Foul by Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion).

89:16 Booking

Booking Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.

89:04

Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

89:04

Foul by Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion).

88:52

Attempt blocked. Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Stéphane Sessegnon.

86:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Nemanja Vidic replaces Rafael.

85:44

Attempt missed. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Morgan Amalfitano with a cross.

81:58 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! West Bromwich Albion 0, Manchester United 3. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Wayne Rooney with a through ball.

81:03

Attempt blocked. Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

79:54

Attempt missed. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Morgan Amalfitano.

79:07

Attempt missed. Zoltán Gera (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Morgan Amalfitano with a cross following a set piece situation.

78:33

Foul by Patrice Evra (Manchester United).

78:33

Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

77:36

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by David de Gea.

77:35

Attempt saved. Zoltán Gera (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Victor Anichebe.

75:41 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Shinji Kagawa replaces Adnan Januzaj.

73:40

Attempt missed. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

69:59

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

69:04

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Liam Ridgewell tries a through ball, but Saido Berahino is caught offside.

66:39

Attempt blocked. Juan Mata (Manchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini.

65:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Saido Berahino replaces Chris Brunt because of an injury.

64:46 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! West Bromwich Albion 0, Manchester United 2. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) header from the left side of the six yard box to the top left corner. Assisted by Rafael with a cross.

62:51

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

62:42 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Danny Welbeck replaces Robin van Persie.

60:35

Delay in match Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) because of an injury.

59:56 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Stéphane Sessegnon replaces Steven Reid.

59:27

Rafael (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

59:27

Foul by Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion).

58:08

Attempt missed. Rafael (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

57:52

Attempt blocked. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Robin van Persie.

57:04

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:04

Foul by Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion).

56:33

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Michael Carrick.

56:30

Attempt blocked. Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

55:51

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55:51

Foul by Zoltán Gera (West Bromwich Albion).

54:12

Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

54:12

Steven Reid (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:01

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini.

51:38

Attempt saved. Zoltán Gera (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Victor Anichebe.

50:55

Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

50:55

Liam Ridgewell (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

50:28

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

50:08

Delay in match Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion) because of an injury.

49:47 Booking

Booking Robin van Persie (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

49:40

Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

49:40

Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:48

Attempt missed. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

47:46

Attempt missed. James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Morgan Amalfitano.

47:01

Attempt missed. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

46:11

Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

46:11

Foul by Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion).

45:00

Second Half begins West Bromwich Albion 0, Manchester United 1.

45:00 +2:47 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 0, Manchester United 1.

45:00 +1:50

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +1:50

Foul by Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion).

45:00 +0:56

Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

45:00 +0:56

Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

40:19

Attempt missed. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by James Morrison.

39:48 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison replaces Claudio Yacob because of an injury.

39:47

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

39:10

Delay in match Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) because of an injury.

38:43

Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

38:43

Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

37:06

Attempt missed. Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) with an attempt from the left side of the six yard box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Jonas Olsson with a headed pass following a corner.

36:37

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Rafael.

35:50

Attempt missed. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Juan Mata.

34:53

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Liam Ridgewell tries a through ball, but Chris Brunt is caught offside.

33:27 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! West Bromwich Albion 0, Manchester United 1. Phil Jones (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Robin van Persie with a cross following a set piece situation.

32:36

Rafael (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

32:36

Foul by Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion).

29:12

Foul by Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

29:12

Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:05

Attempt saved. Rafael (Manchester United) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Adnan Januzaj with a cross.

27:35

Attempt saved. Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion) header from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Chris Brunt with a cross.

25:54

Offside, Manchester United. Wayne Rooney tries a through ball, but Patrice Evra is caught offside.

25:01

Robin van Persie (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

25:01

Foul by Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion).

24:45

Attempt blocked. Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Youssuf Mulumbu.

18:57

Juan Mata (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

18:57

Foul by Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion).

15:39

Attempt blocked. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) with an attempt from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Wayne Rooney with a cross.

15:18

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

14:45

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

14:41

Attempt blocked. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Wayne Rooney with a cross.

14:16

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Gareth McAuley.

12:04 Booking

Booking Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

12:00

Hand ball by Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).

9:14

Foul by Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion).

9:14

Rafael (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

4:59

Foul by Rafael (Manchester United).

4:59

Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:00

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ben Foster.

0:58

Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

0:58

Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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