Alejandro Garnacho doubles up to lift Manchester United above West Ham


This joyful Manchester United ­victory was graced by a blistering ­Rasmus Højlund strike and the comical cele­bration of Alejandro Garnacho’s first goal as he, Højlund and ­Kobbie Mainoo sat atop a Stretford End advertising hoarding.

It was that type of afternoon for Erik ten Hag’s work in progress. On his 21st birthday, Højlund greeted his finish with a hopping air-guitar mime and a raucous cheer was provoked when, after Garnacho doubled the lead, Diogo Dalot skidded along the grass to block Jarrod Bowen’s shot.

The low note was the sight of Lisandro Martínez, four games into returning from a foot injury, being forced off on 71 minutes with what appeared to be a knee problem. The Argentinian had played on after the clash with Tomas Soucek that seemed to cause the injury.

Ten Hag said: “It is a personal disaster [for him]. It seems bad. We have to wait, make the right ­diagnosis in the coming days and we will see. Hopefully it is not too bad, we can only pray.”

Victory lifts United into sixth, eight points behind Aston Villa in fourth. Ten Hag said: “We can achieve a lot because everyone is killing everyone [in the league]. The three youngsters celebrating together – before the season we saw the potential but they need games, experience.”

Even at 2-0 up United were too open until Garnacho’s second sealed victory and claimed two consecutive Premier League wins for only a third time this season.

West Ham had preyed on this shakiness early on by strolling about and nearly profiting from their first corner. James Ward-Prowse lifted the ball in, Soucek’s header was flicked on by Edson Álvarez before André Onana, nose-to-nose with him in a crammed six-yard box, dived left to save.

United upped gear. Harry ­Maguire, in for Raphaël Varane, intercepted Soucek’s pass near halfway. ­Marcus Rashford took over and drove through the area before Kurt Zouma cleared. The corner, taken short by a combination of Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford, was worked to Bruno Fernandes: he thumped a shot, it dipped under the bar, and Alphonse Areola palmed away.