Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane gave Manchester United a much-needed 3-0 victory over Brentford at Old Trafford.
In what was their last home match of the season, United gave their long-suffering supporters something to cheer about and also strengthened their chances of securing a top-six finish, moving six points clear of West Ham in seventh.
The game began at a good tempo and United had the ball in the back of the net inside nine minutes. Anthony Elanga spun in behind and was found by Diogo Dalot. Elanga then swung in a dangerous cross which was met on the volley by Fernandes, and his shot flew past David Raya.
Brentford did not let their heads drop after going behind though, and inspired by the impressive Christian Eriksen, they carved out a few chances of their own. They went close on the 20-minute mark when Ivan Toney headed Eriksen's deep cross narrowly over the bar.
United then caused their visitors a scare, when Juan Mata – who was surprisingly selected in midfield – lashed an effort just wide after a neat exchange with Cristiano Ronaldo. Bryan Mbeumo then skipped inside Alex Telles and shot into the side netting.
Eventually, United, who had the lionshare of possession in the first half, scored again. Or so they thought.
Following a VAR check, Ronaldo was adjudged to be offside from Mata's through ball, a decision which denied the striker his 18th goal of the season.
United continued to threaten at the beginning of the second half. Early on Fernandes was sent through courtesy of a beautiful dinked pass from Nemanja Matic, but the midfielder failed to capitalise.
Brentford remained in contention, with Toney forcing a trademark leg-save from David de Gea just before the hour mark.
However, minutes later the Bees' good work was undone by a moment of stupidity from Rico Henry. After being shrugged off the ball by Ronaldo, Henry charged into the back of the forward and gave away a penalty. Unsurprisingly, United's number seven made no mistake from the spot.
Varane then made sure of the three points, volleying a deflected effort past Raya from an Alex Telles corner in front of the Stretford End. Eerily, the goal came seconds before the planned walk-out protest against the Glazers' ownership. Uptake for this action was pretty minimal inside Old Trafford, though some supporters did depart the ground and unfurl banners.
The rest of the match was an understandably tepid affair with the Bees shifting to damage-limitation mode and United stroking the ball around without too much pressure.
Here are your player ratings...
1. Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)
David de Gea (GK) - 7/10 - Not that busy, but did have some things to do and kept switched on.
Diogo Dalot (RB) - 7/10 - Found Ronaldo with an excellent ball in behind early on and helped create the opener soon after. A real menace offensively.
Raphael Varane (CB) - 8/10 - Never troubled defensively and scored a goal. Can't do much more can you?
Victor Lindelof (CB) - 7/10 - As above, Brentford only rarely forced him into any sort of action.
Alex Telles (LB) - 7/10 - Was afforded some space down the left-hand side and often caused problems.
Scott McTominay (CM) - 7/10 - Looked comfortable in both directions. 'Dominant' would be overstating it, but he never looked troubled.
Nemanja Matic (CM) - 7/10 - Did not misplace a single one of his 57 passes in the first half. His wonderful chip to Fernandes in the second half deserved an assist. Booked, of course. Given a fine reception in his final Old Trafford appearance.
Anthony Elanga (RW) - 7/10 - Bright. Set up the opener and always looked to dart behind the Brentford defence.
Bruno Fernandes (AM) - 7/10 - Finished really well early on to end his goal drought. Kept the ball moving in midfield throughout.
Juan Mata (LW) - 7/10 - Came out firing on what is likely to be his Old Trafford swansong. Really neat and tidy, while also being creative.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) - 8/10 - Caught offside several times but made up for it by winning and converting a second-half penalty. Work rate was higher than usual and he led the line well.
SUB: Fred (CM) - 6/10
SUB: Edinson Cavani (ST) - 6/10
SUB: Phil Jones (CB) - 6/10
2. Brentford (5-3-2)
David Raya (GK) - 5/10 - Made a top save from Dalot, but let in three and lost the battle of the Spanish goalkeepers.
Mads Roerslev (RB) - 4/10 - Attempted to surge forward whenever he could, but lacked the quality to bypass United's midfield with any regularity.
Kristoffer Ajer (CB) - 5/10 - Sprayed a couple of nice long balls forward. Some direct balls found their way into his channel.
Pontus Jansson (CB) - 6/10 - Probably his side's best defender. Read the game pretty well but sometimes caught out in behind.
Mads Bech Sorensen (CB) - 4/10 - A bit shaky. Not sure Ethan Pinnock needs to worry about his starting position.
Rico Henry (LB) - 3/10 - Gave away a really stupid penalty in the second half. Ronaldo was going nowhere. This ended his side's chances of getting a result.
Vitaly Janelt (CM) - 4/10 - Hustle and bustle, but United's neat passing triangles were too much for him to handle most of the time.
Christian Norgaard (CM) - 4/10 - Kept possession okay, but progressive passing was lacklustre.
Christian Eriksen (CM) - 8/10 - His passing was a joy to behold. He popped up all over the place to kickstart his team's attacks. Brentford will need a miracle to keep hold of him this summer on this form...
Bryan Mbeumo (ST) - 4/10 - Starved of service but hold-up play wasn't great.
Ivan Toney (ST) - 5/10 - Only presented with one chance in the first half and did not take it. Caused United's centre-backs some problems in the air.
SUB: Mathias Jensen (CM) - 5/10
SUB: Josh Dasilva (CM) - 6/10
SUB: Yoane Wissa (ST) - 6/10
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