Ralf Rangnick’s first game in charge ended in victory, as Manchester United secured a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The German had opted to name the same starting XI as the one that beat Arsenal in midweek, although the hosts started much brighter than they did on Thursday night, showcasing early signs of the high press approach that is set to be a feature under the new boss.
In a half almost entirely dictated by United, Palace threatened on the break with Wilfried Zaha going close early on, while at the other end Bruno Fernandes saw an effort well saved by Vicente Guaita following an excellent Cristiano Ronaldo knockdown.
After a smattering of half-chances for the home side, arguably the best opening of the half fell to full-back Diogo Dalot, yet the Portugal international could only curl his effort over the bar after cutting in well onto his weaker foot.
Rangnick’s men were far less impressive after the break, however, as the resilient visitors gradually worked their way back into the game, with the home support growing ever more frustrated with every errant pass and failed attack.
Those nerves were heightened even more as Jordan Ayew somehow failed to score with just under 15 minutes to play, the former Aston Villa forward firing his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
That missed chance ultimately proved costly as the Red Devils finally made the breakthrough just moments later through an unlikely source, the much improved Fred curling in on his weaker right foot from just outside the box.
Despite a nervy finish, the hosts hung on for what was a deserved win make it back-to-back Premier League victories and a first under their new interim manager, while it is now three successive league defeats for Patrick Vieira’s side.
Speaking after that result – which moves United up to sixth and three points off fourth – midfield playmaker Fernandes insisted that goalscorer Fred ‘deserves the praise’ after firing the hosts to victory in emphatic fashion.
“We had to carry on with what we did in the last game against Arsenal,” Bruno told BBC’s MOTD.
“We are happy because we got the three points. The results could have been even better.
“Fred has these moments, one shot per year. Everyone is happy for him because he’s such a nice guy. He works a lot and people don’t talk about him. He deserves the praise.
“I think it depends on the game, sometimes you have to press more, sometimes less. But everyone knows the manager wants more pressing from us.
“The first 25 minutes was unbelievable, great tempo. We could have scored so many in the first half.
“We have to follow our new manager’s instructions. Now we go again to the Champions League.”
Man United are next in action against Young Boys in midweek in the Champions League, before they take on Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.