Premier League
Man Utd2Huddersfield0

Manchester United 2-0 Huddersfield Town

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez arrived at Old Trafford from Arsenal in a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal for Manchester United as they comfortably beat Huddersfield to send the visitors into the Premier League's relegation zone.

After an uneventful first half, Romelu Lukaku gave United the lead on 55 minutes with a close-range volley.

Sanchez was then fouled by Huddersfield defender Michael Hefele to win a penalty and the Chilean, a January signing from Arsenal, stepped up to take the spot-kick.

The forward saw his low shot saved by Jonas Lossl, but made no mistake with the rebound to double United's lead on his home debut.

It was an emotional day at Old Trafford as United commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster with a minute's silence before kick-off.

With Premier League leaders Manchester City drawing 1-1 at Burnley in the early kick-off, second-placed United narrowed the gap to 13 points.

But it was a fifth successive league defeat for Huddersfield, who are without a win in eight league games and now sit 19th.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revealed after the game that Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini has had knee surgery and is expected to return by the end of March.

Pogba dropped, but Sanchez makes his mark

Mourinho rang the changes after the 2-0 midweek defeat by Tottenham and the United team sheet raised a few eyebrows before kick-off.

Centre-back Phil Jones, who scored an own goal at Wembley, was dropped from the matchday squad all together, while 21-year-old midfielder Scott McTominay was preferred to £89m Frenchman Paul Pogba, who dropped to the bench for the first time since his return to the club in August 2016.

After the game, Mourinho said Pogba had not been benched as punishment and felt it had not been a "big call".

"To sit on the bench one day is not the end of the world," the Portuguese said.

"The intention is not to punish anyone. To punish someone I also need someone to punish me because we are a team. I made a few changes thinking about the characteristics of this game."

He added: "You have to open spaces by playing simple. That is why I played the kid [McTominay]. But Paul came on very well with a great attitude. No doubts for me, he is one of most talented midfield players in the world."

United felt they should have had a penalty after 20 minutes, when Terence Kongolo clattered McTominay in the area, but referee Stuart Attwell waved away their appeals and the youngster continued after receiving treatment.

Despite enjoying more than 76% possession, the home side lacked fluidity and creativity in the first half and failed to trouble Lossl, bar a long-range effort from Sanchez and an early attempt from Jesse Lingard.

Sanchez, making his third start for his new club, appeared to be getting more frustrated as the half wore on and he was booked for a petulant foul on Florent Hadergjonaj.

United started the second half with real purpose and deservedly took the lead when Juan Mata's cross was met by Lukaku for the Belgian's 19th goal since joining the club.

With 25 minutes to go, Pogba eventually came on and United soon had their second before the game petered out.

In addition to the three points which keep United above Chelsea and Liverpool in the race for second place, Mourinho will be happy with a 15th clean sheet in the league this season for David de Gea.

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Reds had to break down Huddersfield's 'Berlin Wall' - Mourinho

Worrying times for the Terriers

This performance was worlds apart from Huddersfield's 2-1 victory over United in October 2017.

They had defended admirably and frustrated United until Lukaku's breakthrough.

They tried to take the game to United on their rare counter-attacks but they failed to register a shot on target in the game and only one effort off target.

The Terriers were 11th in the table after the victory against United on 21 October, but have won only three times in the league since and taken just 12 points from a possible 51.

Upcoming games against fellow strugglers West Brom, Swansea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle will be key to their survival hopes.

Munich remembered

Players and fans observed a minute's silence before kick-off
Players and fans observed a minute's silence before kick-off

Supporters observed a minute's silence before kick-off as United marked 60 years since the Munich air disaster.

Players wore black armbands, while fans also received a commemorative book and pin.

Before the game, supporters were invited to pay their respects under the Munich plaque at the south-east corner of Old Trafford.

On 6 February 1958, a plane carrying Manchester United players and staff crashed at Munich airport with the club returning from a European Cup game against Red Star Belgrade.

Twenty-three people died, including eight United players and three club officials.

On the actual day of the anniversary on Tuesday, there will be a service inside the stadium, with a minute's silence at 15:04 GMT - the precise time of the crash.

Man of the match - Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez may have lost possession more often in this match than any Manchester United player has in any Premier League game this season, but he was their biggest threat and drew foul after foul from Huddersfield
The United fans showed their appreciation for their new number seven...and his dogs
The United fans showed their appreciation for their new number seven...and his dogs

'We had to break down the Berlin Wall'

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho told BBC Sport: "We always had control of the game, but at half-time it was 0-0. I guess we had around 85% possession in the first half but it was not enough. We kept doing the same in the second and even at 1-0 we were totally in control. Our defensive line was far from the danger areas.

"We had to be patient but had to keep the intensity high and the pressure. We had to break down the Berlin Wall organised so well by David Wagner.

"It was nice for Alexis Sanchez to win a match, the first at home. Nice for him to play well and show the desire and happiness in playing football. That is most important. It was not the goal of his dreams, but it is a goal.

"It is important for the bad reasons [Munich air disaster] but the memories stay. The club looks at the date and event as a key moment in the history of the club. It is nice to do that playing at home and winning."

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Man Utd were the better team - Wagner

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner told BBC Sport: "It was a fair result, the better team won. We made it uncomfortable for them, we wanted to work and fight and stay together, that is what the players have done for a long period, but they used one of their chances and it was a deserved result.

"I have seen what I wanted to see, we will not have much of the ball and not create many chances, so I can live with what I have seen with the commitment and effort from the players. If we play like this, then I am sure we will see the results."

'I fear for Huddersfield' - analysis

Former England captain Alan Shearer on Match of the Day: "Alexis Sanchez made the difference. He was the player who had the drive, energy, pace and aggression.

"It wasn't a great performance from Manchester United but it was a very good one from Sanchez. He was dragging his team forward with the pace of his play. He got the little bit of luck his performance deserved with the penalty round. He was their best player without a doubt."

Former England midfielder Danny Murphy on Match of the Day: "Huddersfield have had a couple of tough fixtures. But they don't look like they're making any chances and we all know how important momentum is. There are other teams coming up around Huddersfield, and I fear for them."

The stats - Sanchez's foul day

  • Lukaku has scored in back-to-back Premier League games at Old Trafford for the first time since September.
  • Huddersfield are the 20th consecutive team to lose their first Premier League visit to Old Trafford, since Derby County won 3-2 there in 1996-97.
  • This was the 15th clean sheet Manchester United have kept in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.
  • The Terriers failed to score for the 10th time in Premier League away games this season, more than any other side in the competition.
  • Sanchez has had a hand in nine goals in his last 10 Premier League games against newly promoted sides (eight goals, one assist).
  • The Chilean won seven fouls in this match - no player has been fouled more in a single Premier League game this season.

What next?

United travel to St James' Park to face Newcastle on 11 February (14:15 GMT), while Huddersfield have an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Birmingham on Tuesday (19:45 GMT), before hosting Bournemouth in the league on 11 February (12:00 GMT).

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 12Smalling
  • 5Rojo
  • 23Shaw
  • 39McTominay
  • 31Matic
  • 8MataBooked at 27minsSubstituted forRashfordat 71'minutes
  • 14LingardSubstituted forPogbaat 65'minutes
  • 7SánchezBooked at 45mins
  • 9LukakuSubstituted forMartialat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Lindelöf
  • 6Pogba
  • 11Martial
  • 16Carrick
  • 18Young
  • 19Rashford
  • 20Romero

Huddersfield

  • 1Lössl
  • 2SmithBooked at 48mins
  • 25M Jorgensen
  • 26SchindlerSubstituted forHefeleat 59'minutesBooked at 64mins
  • 5Kongolo
  • 6HoggBooked at 59mins
  • 23Quaner
  • 33Hadergjonaj
  • 8BillingBooked at 23minsSubstituted forMooyat 33'minutes
  • 17van La ParraSubstituted forInceat 69'minutes
  • 20Depoitre

Substitutes

  • 3Malone
  • 10Mooy
  • 13Coleman
  • 21Pritchard
  • 22Ince
  • 24Mounie
  • 44Hefele
Referee:
Stuart Attwell
Attendance:
74,742

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamHuddersfield
Possession
Home74%
Away26%
Shots
Home16
Away4
Shots on Target
Home7
Away0
Corners
Home5
Away2
Fouls
Home5
Away19

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 2, Huddersfield Town 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Huddersfield Town 0.

Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United).

Terence Kongolo (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Zanka (Huddersfield Town).

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Anthony Martial replaces Romelu Lukaku.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Aaron Mooy.

Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town).

Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United).

Tommy Smith (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Antonio Valencia with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Marcus Rashford replaces Juan Mata.

Substitution

Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Tom Ince replaces Rajiv van La Parra.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester United 2, Huddersfield Town 0. Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal following a set piece situation.

Penalty saved! Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.

Penalty Manchester United. Alexis Sánchez draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Michael Hefele (Huddersfield Town) after a foul in the penalty area.

Attempt missed. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Paul Pogba replaces Jesse Lingard.

Booking

Michael Hefele (Huddersfield Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Michael Hefele (Huddersfield Town).

Offside, Manchester United. Romelu Lukaku tries a through ball, but Juan Mata is caught offside.

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

Foul by Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town).

Offside, Manchester United. Juan Mata tries a through ball, but Antonio Valencia is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Michael Hefele replaces Christopher Schindler because of an injury.

Booking

Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield Town).

Goal!

Goal! Manchester United 1, Huddersfield Town 0. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross.

Luke Shaw (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Rajiv van La Parra (Huddersfield Town).

Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield Town).

Scott McTominay (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Florent Hadergjonaj (Huddersfield Town).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City26223174195569
2Man Utd26175451183356
3Liverpool25148357292850
4Chelsea25155545192650
5Tottenham25146549222748
6Arsenal26136751351645
7Burnley269982123-236
8Leicester269893835335
9Bournemouth2687113037-731
10Everton2687112945-1631
11Watford2576123344-1127
12West Ham2669113246-1427
13Brighton2669112135-1427
14Southampton26511102838-1026
15Crystal Palace2568112338-1526
16Newcastle2566132335-1224
17Swansea2666141937-1824
18Stoke2666142652-2624
19Huddersfield2666141946-2724
20West Brom26311122137-1620
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