A Marcus Rashford first-half strike settled the 171st Manchester Derby as United thumped rivals City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening.
The youngster produced a moment of brilliance in the 16th minute, to boost Louis Van Gaal’s hopes of a top-four finish.
Collecting Juan Mata’s through ball, the 18-year old, who has scored four times in his first two United appearances this season, glided through the challenge of Martin Demichelis to slot home from close range.
The home side threatened to bounce back with Sergio Aguero hitting the post, Jesus Navas firing narrowly wide, and Wilfred Bony failing to convert Yaya Ture’s pass.
However, the visitors defended brilliantly to keep Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who were a bit flat in attack.
The Red Devils are now just a point behind fourth-placed City, who remain 15 behind league leaders Leicester City.
Speaking after the game, United manager, described match-winner, Rashford a real striker.
“He is a real striker and that’s why I let him stay in that position, because he can make goals but he is also an attacking point and he runs also the channels,” Van Gaal told Sky Sports
“I like him very much but still he is 18 years old, so we have to wait and see how consistent he is.”
The Dutchman was delighted with his team’s overall performance after United won for the third time in their last four Premier League matches.
“I am very happy,” Van Gaal said. “I think we played very good, second half we had three chances to score the second, then we have fought until the end.
“A lot of players had cramp – it’s logical when you play Thursday. You see Liverpool did similar too with Southampton 2-0 in the first half, then 3-2 in the second half because they were not recovered.
“I think it is fantastic. I’m happy because it is not easy to win here.
“When I see the dressing room I think it shall give a boost and real belief, it was fantastic to see in the dressing room.
“It was a long time ago since Manchester United have won here so it was fantastic for the fans that we have won.”
The result, did not only dent City’s slender title hopes, but instilled fear into the Citizens, with West Ham and Manchester United breathing down their neck .