Football news - Manchester United go fourth as Paul Pogba brace extends Solskjaer's remarkable run
Premier League, Craven Cottage - Fulham 0 Manchester United 3 (Pogba 14, 65 pen, Martial 23)
Paul Pogba scored twice as Manchester United made it 10 wins in 11 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 3-0 victory over Fulham - taking them to fourth place in the Premier League.
The hosts came close to opening the scoring within seconds of the start, when Luciano Vietto volleyed an Andre Schurrle cross narrowly wide. However, Fulham - who have the worst defence in Europe’s top five leagues - looked vulnerable for much of the game, particularly in the left channel. The deadlock was broken when Anthony Martial played a short pass to Pogba, who struck powerfully from an acute angle to beat Sergio Rico.
United doubled their advantage 10 minutes later with a sensational Anthony Martial move on the break. The 23-year-old picked up possession in his own half and beat Dennis Odoi and Maxime Le Marchand before slotting low to the goalkeeper’s left. It marked the first time that Martial has scored and assisted in the same game since January 2018.
Fulham occasionally threatened going forward, but the visitors completely controlled the second half. The game was put beyond reach shortly after the hour mark when Le Marchand felled Juan Mata in the box. Pogba slotted home the resulting penalty for his eighth goal in nine games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United have now scored a league-leading seven penalties this season.
The win put Manchester United back into the top four for the first time since the opening day of the campaign and provided the ideal preparation for their Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain. Fulham remain five points adrift of safety and face a trip to West Ham next Friday evening.
Paul Pogba of Manchester United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Manchester UnitedGetty Images
TALKING POINT: Will Solskjaer get the permanent job?
United were 11 points shy of the top four when Solskjaer took charge in December and they have now returned to the Champions League places. If he keeps them in the top four, will that be enough to earn a permanent job at the helm? If he manages that and an FA Cup win, it would be very difficult to turn the Norwegian away.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Paul Pogba
Anthony Martial was in superb form today—as were the stand-in centre backs Smalling and Jones—but the day belonged to Pogba. His goals were very well taken and he battled all over the field.
Paul Pogba face à FulhamGetty Images
2’ - CHANCE! Babel breaks from the set piece and finds Schurrle. It's two-on-two as the German crosses to Vietto, who volleys his attempt wide!
15’ - GOAL! What a strike from Pogba! Martial makes a short pass into the box on the left and Pogba strikes it first time from a tight angle!
24’ - GOAL! A superb individual effort from Martial! He breaks in his own half, beats two defenders and slots low past Rico.
64’ - PENALTY! Le Marchand fells Mata in the box and it's a clear spot kick.
65’ - GOAL! Rico goes the right way, but Pogba puts his effort just out of reach. A well-taken spot kick.
- Fulham have lost 20 Premier League games to Manchester United, and have won only three.
- Manchester United have won six consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time since May 2009.
- Paul Pogba has scored 11 league goals in a season for the first time in his career.