West Bromwich — Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard gave Manchester United a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday as Jose Mourinho’s men kept their faint title hopes alive.
Lukaku put United ahead at the Hawthorns and Lingard netted with the aid of a deflection to double the visitors’ lead before half-time.
But what looked destined to be a comfortable win became tense when Gareth Barry prodded home a second-half goal for the hosts.
And United ended the game defending for their lives before claiming the win that kept them 11 points behind neighbours Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
"I think we deserved the win. We were the best team. We controlled the game for a long time," Mourinho said. "The intensity in the first half, maybe, we didn’t have in the second half.
"West Brom are really powerful in the air. But after their goal, we controlled it again."
United made a dominant start with West Brom guilty of squandering cheap possession on a frequent basis.
Yet it was the hosts who threatened in the ninth minute courtesy of a backheel from Salomon Rondon to release James McClean on the left.
He crossed towards the far post for Oliver Burke, but the winger could not control a difficult ball.
United’s first sight of goal came on 14 minutes, when Ashley Young angled a dangerous cross from the left towards Lukaku at the far post.
Baggies defender Kieran Gibbs got his head to the ball and Lukaku was penalised for
handball as he tried to keep the move alive.
West Brom enjoyed a handy spell when they forced two corners on the left but both were poorly taken by Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak.
United opened the scoring on 28 minutes as Lukaku returned to haunt his former club.
Burke lost the ball cheaply on the Albion right, Marcus Rashford was given too much space and his cross was glanced home by Lukaku
Ten minutes before half-time it was 2-0 to United as Lingard struck. He was set up on the edge of the area by Juan Mata after good work by Lukaku, and Lingard’s low shot struck the leg of defender Ahmed Hegazi and looped past helpless goalkeeper Ben Foster.
There was a heated start to the second half when Rashford went down holding his face after a collision with Hegazi. The United player was booked after leaping up and confronting Hegazi head to head.
But that clash did not provide the spark for a fiery second half as United sat back on their lead. West Brom had a rare chance when Rondon forced De Gea into a routine save with 17 minutes remaining before substitute Chris Brunt fired over the crossbar from the edge of the area. With 13 minutes to go Albion grabbed the goal that gave them hope. Brunt delivered a corner, United failed to clear and Barry poked the ball home the for club’s first goal under Alan Pardew and his first for Albion.
Things might have got worse for United in the closing stages but Brunt’s superb leftwing cross was headed wide of the near post by fellow substitute Jay Rodriguez.