Man Utd threaten return to form with 3-0 win

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (R) scores a goal during their English Premier League soccer match against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England March 8, 2014. (REUTERS)

Manchester United kept their faltering push for a Champions League place alive with a breezy 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

Goals from Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck gave United back-to-back league wins for the first time since December, following their 2-0 success at Crystal Palace last month.

Victory took the defending champions to within nine points of fourth-place Manchester City, although they have played two more games, while Pepe Mel's West Brom remain a point above the relegation zone in 17th place.

United's last game at The Hawthorns had been Alex Ferguson's last as manager and his successor, David Moyes, was looking for a reaction to his side's shock 2-0 loss to Olympiakos in the Champions League.

After Marouane Fellaini had seen a header cleared off the line and West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster had tipped a header from Rafael da Silva onto his crossbar, United broke through in the 34th minute.

A free-kick wide on the right gave Robin van Persie an opportunity to whip a cross into the box and Jones stole in front of a clutch of defenders to beat Foster with a glancing near-post header.

In reply, Claudio Yacob and Victor Anichebe each went close for West Brom, but Foster was fortunate to escape censure after he miscalculated an attempt to control a lofted pass from Juan Mata outside his area and the ball struck him on the hand.

West Brom forced United onto the back foot early in the second half, with Zoltan Gera testing David De Gea at his near post and Mata hooking away a low cross from Anichebe.

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