Manchester United 4-1 Aston Villa

Wayne Rooney heads home Manchester United's equaliser

Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United fought back to beat Aston Villa after a fly-by protest by fans calling for manager David Moyes to be sacked.

A plane carrying an anti-Moyes banner was booed by some home fans as it flew over Old Trafford in the second minute.

Ashley Westwood's curling free-kick put Villa ahead but Rooney quickly headed United level, then scored from the spot after Leandro Bacuna fouled Juan Mata.

Mata slotted home a third before Javier Hernandez made it 4-1 in injury time.

Man Utd 4-1 Aston Villa: David Moyes says majority of fans support him

Media playback is not supported on this device

Man Utd 4-1 Aston Villa: David Moyes says most fans support him

Villa striker Christian Benteke missed two good second-half chances but, crucially for their under-pressure manager, United were convincing winners and Moyes enjoyed a very public show of support.

The aerial message organised by disgruntled United fans read "Wrong One - Moyes Out", but it was not well received by supporters inside the ground when it appeared overhead.

Just as significant was the reaction to Moyes emerging from the tunnel ahead of kick-off - before his players, unusually - with applause from all four sides of Old Trafford greeting his arrival.

That backing could easily have wavered when Westwood expertly bent a free-kick over the United wall and beyond a diving David De Gea in the 13th minute.

But the United fans continued to sing Moyes's name and saw their side level seven minutes later when Rooney expertly steered Shinji Kagawa's cross into the corner of the net.

The fly-by protest calling for Manchester United manager David Moyes to be sacked

The home side improved as the game went on, and took the lead just before half-time when Kagawa's pass, intended for Rooney, ran through to Mata inside the box. He turned inside Bacuna but was sent tumbling as the Villa defender dived in, and Rooney made no mistake from the spot.

Villa had their chances, with Benteke mis-kicking in front of goal from Westwood's cross and then heading over from a Marc Albrighton delivery.

Those misses were punished just before the hour when Marouane Fellaini helped the ball into Mata's path inside the box and the Spanish playmaker fired home his first goal since joining United for £37m in January.

By now the hosts were finding plenty of space in and around the Villa area, but there were still some gaps in their defence too.

Benteke should have done better when he beat the offside trap to meet Ciaran Clark's ball into the box, but he failed to make a proper connection.

Bayern Munich, who visit Old Trafford in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday, are unlikely to be so wasteful, but this time United's defensive lapses never threatened to spoil their victory.

Hernandez converted Adnan Januzaj's inviting cross to make it 4-1 in stoppage time and, at the final whistle, Moyes left the arena in the same way he had arrived - to loud applause.

Manchester United manager David Moyes: "Wayne Rooney has played great all season.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert

Media playback is not supported on this device

Manchester United 4-1 Aston Villa: Scoreline harsh says Lambert

"I said to him in the dressing room after the game that he is doing a great job for the team. He is getting the goals that we need and his all-round form and play have been very good too."

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert: "I thought 4-1 was harsh on us. We started the game great and scored a really good goal and we were looking pretty good.

"But then we conceded a pretty poor first goal and it was a clear penalty to United, no arguments about that.

"Just after the restart we had two incredible chances to peg it back and you have got to take chances like that.

"That is no criticism of Christian Benteke because he has scored vital goals for us and he will continue to do so but, on another day, we score a couple of goals and it becomes a different game."

Check out the best photos from Saturday's Premier League games on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Chelsea3221653869
2Liverpool3121554568
3Man City3021455267
4Arsenal3219761964
5Everton3016951657
6Tottenham311759056
7Man Utd32166101454
8Southampton3213910948
9Newcastle3214414-946
10Stoke32101012-840
11West Ham319715-734
12Aston Villa319715-1234
13Swansea328915-333
14Hull329617-733
15Norwich328816-2532
16Crystal Palace319418-1931
17West Brom3151412-1229
18Cardiff326818-3226
19Sunderland296716-1925
20Fulham317321-4024
View full Premier League table

Top Stories