Ryan Giggs’s first match as interim Manchester United manager ended in a 4-0 thrashing of Premier League strugglers Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney and substitute Juan Mata scored two goals apiece as the soon-to-be-dethroned English champions left the Canaries just a point above the relegation zone with two games remaining.
Giggs, who decided against naming himself in the starting side or on the bench, saw Rooney give United the lead with a 41st-minute penalty after Danny Welbeck went down in the box.
England striker Rooney made it 2-0 seven minutes after the break with a curling shot from outside the box as Norwich’s defence backed off.
Mata put the result beyond doubt in the 63rd minute when he turned in Phil Jones’s cross before adding a second goal 10 minutes later as Norwich retreated again.
“I enjoyed it,” Giggs told Sky Sports. “Four-nil is a dream day for us, I’m really pleased with the performance.
“I reminded the players the tempo needed to be quicker at half-time and they reacted well to that.
“I didn’t sleep last night. Leaving the likes of Juan Mata out of the starting XI was difficult and a position I’ve never been in before. I’m also one of their teammates.
“You saw the reaction of Juan, he’s a true pro.”
United great Giggs was put in caretaker charge for the final four games of the season when former manager David Moyes was sacked on Tuesday.
Moyes was dismissed just 10 months after replacing the retired Alex Ferguson following a 2-0 defeat by Everton – his former club – made it mathematically impossible for United to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Earlier, Everton suffered a huge blow in their own quest to join European club football’s elite after a pair of own goals condemned them to a 2-0 loss at Southampton.
Everton remain a point behind Arsenal, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot, ahead of the Gunners’ match at home to Newcastle United on Monday.
But Everton manager Roberto Martinez insisted the Merseysiders, whose final two league games of the season are against title contenders Manchester City and FA Cup finalists Hull City, had not given up on a Champions League place.
“Today was a real setback, but we’ll be ready for next Saturday,” Martinez told BT Sport.
Everton fell behind in under a minute at St Mary’s when Antolin Alacaraz headed a cross from Southampton’s Rickie Lambert past goalkeeper Tim Howard.
And the visitors went 2-0 down in the 31st minute when Seamus Coleman diverted Nathaniel Clyne’s cross into his own net.
Fulham missed the chance to climb out of the relegation zone after Hull came from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.
“It was very disappointing,” said Fulham manager Felix Magath. “If you are leading 2-0 at home, you have to see it through.”
West Bromwich Albion moved five points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at home to West Ham United, Saido Berahino scoring when he turned in Morgan Amalfitano’s centre in the 11th minute.
“I think that we need to win one of our final three games to be safe,” said West Brom manager Pepe Mel.
Aston Villa were left just four points above the drop after a 4-1 loss at Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur moved to within three points of fifth-placed Everton with a 1-0 win at Stoke City.
Stoke were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Ryan Shawcross was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a studs-up challenge on Rose.
The race for the title will intensify on Sunday when leaders Liverpool face second-placed Chelsea, five points behind, at Anfield.
Third-placed Manchester City, six points off the summit but with a game in hand on the top two, are away to Crystal Palace.
At the other end of the table there is a relegation clash when bottom-of-the-table Sunderland host fellow strugglers Cardiff City.