Anthony Martial scored twice on his first Premier League start as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 at St Mary’s.
The £36m summer signing from Monaco showed good composure to level in the 34th minute after Graziano Pelle had given Saints an early lead.
Martial then capitalised on a poor backpass from Maya Yoshida to double the advantage before David de Gea pulled off a brilliant save to keep out Jose Fonte’s header.
Juan Mata netted the third in the 68th minute after Memphis Depay struck the post and United held out for victory – even though Pelle pulled a goal back for Saints in the closing stages.
The victory moves United up to second in the table, just two points behind leaders Manchester City, and maintains their excellent record at St Mary’s, where they have won on nine of their last 11 visits.
While Martial was the star of the show with his two goals, De Gea’s display should also not be underrated.
The save to keep out Fonte’s header from under the bar was outstanding and he also denied Victor Wanyama late on as United came under increasing pressure.
The visitors were without former Saint Luke Shaw after his injury in midweek but Wayne Rooney returned to the side following an injury.
Saints made three changes from their draw with West Brom and started on top as United’s defence failed to cope with the movement from Saido Mane, Dusan Tadic and Pelle.
The hosts made their early superiority count as James Ward-Prowse’s cross was turned towards goal by Mane, with De Gea only able to push his save into the direction of Pelle, who made no mistake in tucking away the rebound.
Pelle should have doubled the advantage not long afterwards but struck the post when through on goal.
The miss proved costly as United came into the game more as the half wore on.
They equalised when Morgan Schneiderlin’s forward header was collected by Mata, who was in an offside position, and when he was tackled, Martial showed composure to control and finish.
Schneiderlin then fired wide from a short-corrner routine but United went ahead not long after half-time as Yoshida played a tame backpass and Martial again kept his cool to score.
The mistake from the defender seemed to breed indecision in the Saints back four and it was skipper Jose Fonte who was next to surrender possession – with Memphis Depay screwing a shot just wide.
Fonte came close to drawing the hosts level but his near-post header from Tadic’s corner was superbly pushed away by De Gea.
It proved to be a crucial save as United started to control the game and got a third when Depay struck the post and Mata was on hand to finish the rebound.
It looked as though the visitors would see out a comfortable victory but Pelle ensured a nervy finish when he headed home Mane’s cross with four minutes remaining.
Saints pushed for a late equaliser, only for De Gea to keep out Wanyama’s shot from just outside the box with a diving stop. – SkySports.