LIVERPOOL, England — Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard delivered a pair of brilliant second-half finishes to lead Manchester United to a 2-0 win at Everton on Monday, ending its run of three straight draws in the Premier League.
After a disappointing first-half display at Goodison Park, United was dominant after halftime with Paul Pogba — playing in a more attacking role — at the heart of everything for the visitors.
Martial, filling in as striker in place of the injured Romelu Lukaku, collected Pogba's pass and curled high into the net from 20 metres out to give United the lead in the 57th minute.
Lingard's finish was even better in the 81st, running to the edge of the box and sending a shot into the same top corner found by Martial.
A defeat would have dropped United to fourth place, below arch rival Liverpool, in the standings. Instead, United climbed to second above Chelsea, which plays Arsenal on Wednesday. United is 12 points behind leader Manchester City with 16 games left.
With draws against Leicester, Burnley and Southampton over the past week, the festive period has been disappointing for United and the title is likely out of reach.
This second-half display will have pleased United manager Jose Mourinho, though.
Wayne Rooney was given a good reception by United's fans in his second game against his former club, but he conceded possession to allow United to break forward and score the opening goal. Juan Mata found Pogba, who then passed across the face of the area for Martial to control and whip a shot into the corner.
Everton was ponderous in attack, highlighting its desperate need for a striker in the January transfer window. The home side only really threatened in the final 20 minutes, with Oumar Niasse stooping to head a chance wide.
Lingard was dangerous throughout and got the goal he deserved, his seventh in his last nine league games, to show why he is currently keeping Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of the team.
Everton has lost its last two games, with the honeymoon period under new manager Sam Allardyce seemingly over.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80