MANCHESTER ⸺ Marcus Rashford’s skill helped Manchester United to a 3-1 home win over Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday as the England forward scored one goal and had a hand in another.
Looking shaky at the back and lacking edge up front in the first half, United were fortunate not to fall behind before Rashford fired them ahead out of the blue in the 30th minute.
Newcastle hit back through Allan Saint-Maximin six minutes later before a 57th-minute strike by Daniel James and a Bruno Fernandes penalty secured their second league win in the last six matches.
United moved back into second spot on 49 points from 25 games, 10 behind leaders Manchester City and ahead of third-placed Leicester City on goal difference.
Newcastle stayed 17th on 25 points, three ahead of Fulham who occupy the last relegation spot, after an eighth league defeat in 10 games.
James, who also scored in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Europa League round of 32 first leg, was delighted after making the most of a rare start.
“It is a turnaround,” the Wales winger told BT Sport.
“There was a moment last season when I maybe was not performing as well as I wanted to do. I kind of lost my way a bit. I have been working with the coaches to get me back to myself and I’d like to think I’ve got there now.”
United were pegged back and defended unconvincingly at times before Rashford twice beat defender Emil Krafth with neat footwork and fired a crisp low shot past goalkeeper Karl Darlow inside the near post.
Saint-Maximin forced David De Gea into a diving save but the United keeper was powerless moments later when Harry Maguire’s poor clearance fell kindly to the Newcastle striker who swept the ball into the roof of the net.
United looked sluggish in the early stages of the second half but struck from out of nowhere as a Nemanja Matic pass was touched on by Fernandes to James who rifled the ball past Darlow from eight metres.
Fernandes sealed United’s win with a confident spot-kick awarded when Joe Willock tripped Rashford after he bedazzled the Newcastle player with sublime close control in the area.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond; Reuters