Robin van Persie got back on the scoresheet after a disappointing run as Manchester United strolled to a 3-0 victory over Hull at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Louis van Gaal’s side retained their place in the Premier League’s top four thanks to a third successive win secured by Chris Smalling’s opener, a Wayne Rooney strike and Dutch forward van Persie’s first goal in his last four club matches.
And with one defeat in eight games, plus upcoming fixtures against Stoke and Southampton in the next nine days, there is a growing belief at Old Trafford that United can secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
The hosts had the contest completely under control by the interval against a Hull side who have won just once in the league since the opening day of the season and are plummeting down the table at an alarming rate.
After 15 minutes, Rooney’s corner was headed back across goal by two defenders, forcing goalkeeper Allan McGregor into an unconvincing attempt to clear the ball which served only to push it out to Smalling.
The defender’s shot was struck well enough and although it appeared that McGregor might have kept it out, rather than help if over the line, referee Anthony Taylor used goalline technology to confirm the goal.
The second goal followed a half of complete United domination, coming four minutes before the interval as captain Curtis Davis blundered in failing to clear Ander Herrera’s header, tapping the ball directly to van Persie.
The Dutchman laid the ball back to Rooney and he produced a superbly-placed finish from just outside the area, his eighth goal in his last nine games for club and country.