(Reuters) - Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal for the club and Romelo Lukaku was also on target as they closed the gap at the top of the Premier League to 13 points with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
After Burnley had held league leaders Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor in the early kickoff, the pressure was on United to take advantage but they struggled to find any rhythm in the first half as Huddersfield stood firm.
However, 10 minutes into the second half the hosts went in front when Lukaku met Juan Mata’s cross to score his fourth goal in his last six appearances before Sanchez stroked home the ball after his 68th-minute penalty was saved.
Struggling Huddersfield offered little as an attacking force in the game and United saw out the victory with ease to at least put some pressure on rivals City, while Huddersfield dropped to second-bottom after a fifth successive league defeat.
After winning promotion last season, it was the first time this season that Huddersfield had found themselves in the relegation zone.
United manager Jose Mourinho was satisfied with having broken down the visitors’ defensive wall on a day when United commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster in which eight players died.
“The club looks at the date and event as a key moment in the history of the club. It is nice to do that playing at home and winning,” he said.
”We always had control of the game. We had to be patient but had to keep the intensity high and the pressure. We had to break down the Berlin wall organised so well by David Wagner.
“It was nice for Alexis Sanchez to win a match, the first at home. Nice for him to play well and show the desire and happiness in playing football. That is most important.”
Wagner had no complaints about a second successive defeat by one of the top teams, after his side lost 3-0 to Liverpool in midweek.
”It was a fair result, the better team won,“ he said. ”We made it uncomfortable for them but they used one of their chances and it was a deserved result.
“I have seen what I wanted to see, with the commitment and effort from the players. If we play like this, then I am sure we will see the results.”
Reporting by Pete Hall and Steve Tongue; Editing by Ken Ferris and Clare Fallon