Confident Manchester United moved into the ’s top four with a dominant win over struggling Fulham at Craven Cottage.

was in sensational form, making the first for Paul Pogba and scoring a wonderful second as United secured their 10th victory in 11 games under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pogba wrapped up the points in the second half when he stroked home from the penalty spot after Juan Mata was fouled in the area.

Despite fielding a much-changed defence, they were rarely troubled by a Fulham team who have now conceded 58 goals this season and remain firmly entrenched in the relegation zone.

United on the other hand have moved above Chelsea on 51 points with their recent stunning form pushing them into the hunt for an end-of-season spot.

Pogba’s brilliance defines United

Pogba’s resurgence under Solskjaer has been well documented and his performance at Craven Cottage epitomised the way he has played under the Norwegian.

Two more goals took his season’s tally to 13 – seven of them have been scored in nine games under Solskjaer – and he completely ran the game for Manchester United.

With just 13 minutes on the clock, he latched onto Martial’s through ball and from a tight angle smashed the ball high into the top corner of Sergio Rico’s net.

He continued to stroll around the pitch with the swagger and skill expected of a £89m World Cup winner, dovetailing neatly with Martial to strengthen the case that he is the best midfielder in the at the moment.

And after Mata was clumsily pulled down by Maxime Le Marchand on 64 minutes, Pogba picked up the ball and coolly slotted the penalty into the bottom right corner.

Paul Pogba

With the game won, Solskjaer withdrew his star man to protect him for big tests coming up, not least Paris St-Germain in the last 16 at on Tuesday night.

Feeble Fulham continue to struggle

’s side have now lost five of their last six games and a return to the Championship looks all the more likely after this display.

It could all have been very different if the Cottagers had scored in the opening minute. From a Manchester United attack, the Cottagers broke quickly and Andre Schurrle picked out Luciano Vietto at the back post. The Italian though could only carelessly screw his shot wide.

Schurrle himself could have scored moments later but he too was off target when well placed.

That was as good as it got for Fulham who showed no signs of repeating their incredible comeback from two goals down to beat Brighton in their previous home match.

Indeed, Mitrovic’s tting header on 72 minutes was the only time they tested United keeper in the second half.

Ryan Babel summed up their afternoon when he could only hit the post from a yard out, to the great joy of the United fans situated behind the goal.

Ryan Babel

On this evidence, Ranieri has a lot of work to do to salvage their season as they sit seven points from safety with just 12 games left.

Shouts of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ from his own fans when he withdrew Schurrle early in the second half will not help their cause.

Games against West Ham and will be vital before an intimidating March run of fixtures against Chelsea, and .

Solskjaer’s changes pay off

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Solskjaer seemed to have one eye on Tuesday’s match and made six changes to the side that won last time out at Leicester.

With Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez rested, replacements Martial and Romelu Lukaku improved their chances of featuring in that game with a performance full of threat.

Martial in particular was in dynamic form, tormenting Fulham’s stand-in right back Denis Odoi throughout and scoring a marvellous goal after a run from inside his own half.

Solskjaer also shuffled his defenders as Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, fresh from signing new long-term deals at , reprised their centre-back partnership.

And, despite a few shaky moments early on, they easily handled the feisty Mitrovic and cruised to a sixth consecutive away victory in all competitions for the first time since May 2009.

Solskjaer even had the luxury of withdrawing Pogba and Martial with 20 minutes left, two Frenchmen who will relish the challenge posed by runaway Ligue 1 leaders PSG.

Man of the match – Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Paul Pogba

What they said

Fulham manager : We created two great chances in the first 10 minutes but after we conceded we gave it to them and lost our composure. When you play against big champions you can make mistakes.

I tried to give my players more opportunities by playing with two strikers and Ryan Babel in behind. We didn’t create anything very dangerous and the penalty finished the match.

On Andre Schurrle’s substitution: I know the fans were not happy but I had two players with flu in the week, including Andre Schurrle. I can understand the fans always want their players to play but it’s not always possible.

We will work to try and win our next two games. We’re always positive.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: The first 10 minutes we made it hard for ourselves but the last 80 minutes pleased me. We managed the game well which you have to do away from home and we played some fantastic football.

The players have some fantastic qualities. I’ve supported United for many years and as a United fan you go into every game thinking you’re going to win it. We’re on a great run but I think the players are feeling the same.

We know how good Paul Pogba is and he scored a great goal.

We want to keep moving forward and hang onto this fourth place. When you win games, you’re always happy and I think the crowd will enjoy the trip home.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba: We’ve played better but getting two quick goals in the first half changed the game. Ole helps every player play at their best. Ole is himself. He’s not acting and he’s given joy and confidence to everyone.

The team has a really good atmosphere. You can see on the pitch the effect.

There is a long way to go with big games coming up. We’ve got to focus on PSG and try and get points from the big teams.

Fulham’s bogey team – the stats

  • Fulham have conceded 58 goals in 26 games this season; only three sides have shipped more at this stage in the history of the competition (Barnsley in 97/98 – 62, Swindon in 93/94 – 60 and Blackburn in 11/12 – 59).
  • Manchester United have won six consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time since May 2009.
  • Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has picked up 25 points in the since taking over in December (W8 D1), more than any other manager has managed in his first nine games in charge of a single club in the competition.
  • Fulham have lost 20 games against Manchester United, against no other team have they lost more (also 20 v Arsenal).
  • Manchester United have scored seven goals from the penalty spot in the this season, more than any other side.
  • Manchester United’s Paul Pogba has reached double figures for goals for the first time ever in a single league campaign (11).
  • has now been directly involved in 50 goals (33 goals, 17 assists), more than any other Manchester United player since his debut in September 2015.
  • Via his assist for , Manchester United defender Phil Jones registered his first goal involvement in 87 appearances, since an assist against Norwich in April 2014.

What’s next?

Fulham have almost two weeks off before travelling across London to face West Ham on Friday, 22 February (20:00 GMT).

Manchester United will welcome Paris St-Germain to in the on Tuesday, 12 February (19:45 GMT) before an FA Cup fifth-round tie with Chelsea on Monday, 18 February at Stamford Bridge.

Line-ups

Fulham

  • 25Rico
  • 4Odoi
  • 20Le Marchand
  • 13Ream
  • 23BryanBooked at 25minsSubstituted forR Sessegnonat 81′minutes
  • 5ChambersBooked at 38mins
  • 24Seri
  • 14SchürrleSubstituted forChristieat 53′minutes
  • 19Vietto
  • 12BabelSubstituted forCairneyat 77′minutes
  • 9MitrovicBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 3R Sessegnon
  • 7Kebano
  • 10Cairney
  • 11Ayité
  • 22Christie
  • 29Zambo Anguissa
  • 31Fabri

Man Utd

  • 1De GeaBooked at 90mins
  • 20Dalot
  • 12Smalling
  • 4Jones
  • 23Shaw
  • 21HerreraSubstituted forBaillyat 85′minutes
  • 31MaticBooked at 43mins
  • 6PogbaSubstituted forMcTominayat 74′minutes
  • 8Mata
  • 9Lukaku
  • 11MartialSubstituted forSánchezat 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bailly
  • 7Sánchez
  • 10Rashford
  • 14Lingard
  • 18Young
  • 22Romero
  • 39McTominay
Referee:
Paul Tierney

Match Stats

Home TeamFulhamAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home15
Away15
Shots on Target
Home3
Away7
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home14
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Fulham 0, Manchester United 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Fulham 0, Manchester United 3.

Tom Cairney (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United).

Booking

(Manchester United) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).

(Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Fulham. Aleksandar Mitrovic tries a through ball, but Ryan Sessegnon is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Tom Cairney (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Eric Bailly.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Eric Bailly replaces Ander Herrera.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Maxime Le Marchand.

Foul by Cyrus Christie (Fulham).

Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Fulham. Ryan Sessegnon replaces Joe Bryan.

Luciano Vietto (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Diogo Dalot (Manchester United).

Substitution

Substitution, Fulham. Tom Cairney replaces Ryan Babel.

Ryan Babel (Fulham) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box.

Attempt missed. Scott McTominay (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Sergio Rico.

Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Scott McTominay replaces Paul Pogba.

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Cyrus Christie with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Alexis Sánchez replaces .

Attempt saved. Calum Chambers (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Luciano Vietto.

Foul by Luciano Vietto (Fulham).

Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Fulham 0, Manchester United 3. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Penalty conceded by Maxime Le Marchand (Fulham) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty Manchester United. Juan Mata draws a foul in the penalty area.

Attempt saved. Ander Herrera (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Juan Mata.

Ryan Babel (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).

Attempt blocked. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nemanja Matic.

Foul by Jean Michael Seri (Fulham).

Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Cyrus Christie (Fulham).