LONDON (REUTERS) – Manchester United came from a goal down to beat West Ham United 3-1 at London Stadium on Saturday (Dec 5) as fans returned to the Premier League for the first time since March.
After Tomas Soucek put West Ham ahead, three goals inside 13 minutes in the second half, from Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford turned the game around for United.
United, who moved up to fourth in the table, have now won all five away games in the league this season, coming from behind in each one.
United started poorly and West Ham created several openings with Pablo Fornals hitting the side netting and the post.
Czech midfielder Soucek put West Ham ahead, in front of the permitted 2,000 fans, in the 38th minute, turning in at the back post after Declan Rice had headed on a corner.
United, beaten by Paris St Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday, were well below their best, forcing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bring on Rashford and Bruno Fernandes from the bench at the break with the disappointing Donny van der Beek and Anthony Martial replaced.
Although Solskjaer had been hoping to rest his key players ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League crunch match in Leipzig, the move paid off.
Portuguese midfielder Fernandes set up Pogba for the equaliser in the 65th minute, the French midfielder scoring with brilliant side-foot curler from outside of the box.
The move had begun with a long, high ball down the line from United keeper Dean Henderson which West Ham manager David Moyes claimed had gone out of play.
Three minutes later Greenwood put United ahead with a superb first touch from an Alex Telles ball in from the left, creating space for a fine shot on the turn.
Rashford completed the comeback in the 78th minute with a delicate chip after being put clear through on goal by United’s other sub Juan Mata.
United are in fourth place on 19 points, two points behind leaders Tottenham who face Arsenal on Sunday.
While the result gave United their ninth straight away win, Rashford expressed concern about the repeated need to come from behind.
“We need to stop doing that. If we keep more clean sheets we will definitely win more games. It is good that we showed spirit, but ideally we don’t want to be conceding,” he said.
“We managed to get through it. Once you get to half-time it is a chance to regroup and we came out refocused… the team knew what we had to do,” Rashford added.
West Ham are seventh on 17 points.