Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford maintained their goalscoring form in front of goal as Manchester United made it seven wins from seven under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by beating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 on Saturday.
A fifth goal in five games for Pogba, who converted from the spot after winning a penalty, was added to by Rashford before the end of the first half to match the Frenchman’s scoring stats since Solskjaer took charge a month ago.
United took their foot off the gas in the second half to allow Brighton a route back into the game through Pascal Gross’s well-taken strike, but the hosts saw things through to climb above Arsenal into fifth place in the Premier League.
After spending the best part of 10 minutes attempting to keep their opponents at bay, the first real shot of the afternoon arrived from Albion winger Jurgen Locadia, whose effort was easily dealt with by David de Gea.
Pogba guided the ball over the crossbar and Victor Lindelof glanced a corner wide of the target as United, forced into a late change from their 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur as Diogo Dalot replaced illness victim Luke Shaw, increased the tempo.
United’s pressure finally started to tell as, after Rashford and Pogba had efforts kept out in front of goal, the latter was brought down by a mix of Solly March and Gaeten Bong in the box to win his side a penalty.
Pogba stepped up and placed the ball just out of David Button’s reach following his now-customary stuttered run-up.
Chances then went begging at both ends of the field as Anthony Martial was denied by Button from a one-on-one position, failing to get enough lift on his dinked finish, and Glenn Murray blasted an angled finish wide of De Gea’s goal from seven yards.
That miss would prove costly for Brighton as Rashford showed some great footwork inside the box to get away from his marker and curl the ball into the far corner, despite the angle being against him.
Martial twice came close to adding a third goal to United’s tally early in the second half, being denied by a fine Shane Duffy block and firing a shot inches wide of the target from further back.
Brighton enjoyed the occasional threatening moment, with Lewis Dunk poking the ball wide at the back post, and they gave United something to think about 18 minutes from time when Gross maintained his goalscoring run in this fixture.
The German midfielder, on target in Albion’s back-to-back wins over United before today, picked out the top corner once Davy Propper’s outside-of-the-boot cross fell nicely into his path.
That led to a nervy conclusion to the match for Solskjaer’s men, but the Seagulls could not quite create one final clear-cut opportunity as United held on for yet another win under their interim boss.