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.

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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