Manchester United brought an end to a run of three successive draws as goals from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard secured a 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
In a bright start, home keeper Jordan Pickford was quickly out to claim as Lingard threatened, and with four minutes gone Everton’s former United star Wayne Rooney almost grabbed the limelight when his shot was blocked by Phil Jones and spun behind.
But the game soon entered a scrappy spell, with the ball zipping around a wet playing surface on a rainy night and neither side able to gain much control.
On the quarter of an hour mark, Paul Pogba set out to change that as he fired in a low cross that eluded the waiting Juan Mata before Martial blasted over from long range.
As the tempo picked up, Everton’s Tom Davies had a 25-yard strike deflected behind for a corner, and when the ball fell to Nikola Vlasic his shot was wayward.
With 24 minutes gone, United were grateful to Marcos Rojo for a superb sliding block to deny Oumar Niasse as the Everton forward tried to make something of a through pass by Vlasic.
Pickford stopped a Rojo header and then blocked from Martial after Luke Shaw and Pogba had created the opening.
With the rain increasing as the half drew towards a conclusion, Jesse Lingard shot wide after a purposeful run and, in the final moments of the half, Rooney was booked for fouling Martial as the United man tried to break.
United began the second half strongly and Pickford tipped over a dipping Mata strike before the midfielder came even closer after 50 minutes, bending an effort past the keeper but seeing it rebound off the post.
Shaw’s low cross was cut out well by Cuco Martina with Lingard waiting in the middle, and then Pogba sent an angled effort past the post as the visitors began to totally dominate.
And after 56 minutes they broke through as Martial struck, Mata and Pogba combining to set him up on the edge of the area and a superb curling finish from the edge of the box giving Pickford no chance for his ninth goal of the season.
Home boss Sam Allardyce made a double change shortly after the hour, taking off Yannick Bolasie and Rooney and replacing them with Aaron Lennon and James McCarthy.
But United’s dominance continued, Pogba jinking into the area to force Pickford into more action, and seconds later Martial’s raking cross from the left was a fraction too high for the onrushing Pogba.
With 20 minutes to go, however, Everton were within a whisker of levelling as Mason Holgate’s cross from the right was diverted narrowly wide by Niasse who, unmarked, should have hit the target.
Holgate’s pull-back then gave Tom Davies a difficult half-chance, with United scrambling it clear as Jose Mourinho’s side faced sustained pressure for the first time.
As the final 10 minutes approached, Mourinho took off Martial for Marcus Rashford, and within moments Rashford was involved in a move that ended with Pickford making a superb stop from Lingard.
And United wrapped up the points with nine minutes remaining as Pogba found Lingard and he shimmied away from a challenge to curl a brilliant finish past Pickford.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin replaced Niasse late on for Everton, who had Holgate booked for a foul on Lingard, with United later substituting him for Daley Blind as the game ticked into its final seconds, with Mata going off to be replaced by Axel Tuanzebe.