MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) - Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, two Manchester United forwards whose form has been under an intense recent spotlight, both scored as their side beat bottom-of-the-table Leicester 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Victory saw United continue their quest for a place in next season's Champions League on a day when the club commemorated the 57th anniversary of the Munich air disaster with a pre-match ceremony.
Louis van Gaal's side took complete command of the match by going 3-0 up before half-time thanks to Leicester defender Wes Morgan's own-goal.
United, under instructions to be more clinical in their attacking play after a sequence of four league games that had brought just three goals, certainly heeded their Dutch manager's wishes even if their overall play was hardly inspiring.
Indeed, Leicester had defended with great organisation, and little to concern them, for the opening 27 minutes until Andy King allowed Daley Blind to dispossess him in midfield.
United's Dutch midfielder played through a perfectly-weighted pass for his countryman van Persie, who advanced and met the ball with a clinical strike across the body of Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and into the far corner of the goal.
Replays suggested the United forward was a step offside as he sprinted to meet the through ball but that did not detract from the impressive style of his finish.
Just five minutes later, United doubled their lead when van Persie sprinted through on the counter-attack before slipping in a pass for Angel di Maria whose powerful shot was parried by Schwarzer, allowing Falcao to react swiftly to force in the rebound.
NO LEICESTER REPEAT
The more optimistic among the visiting supporters would doubtless have been thinking back to September, and the corresponding home fixture, when Leicester became the first team in Premier League history to recover from a two-goal deficit against United, eventually winning 5-3.
But this contest was rapidly becoming a very different proposition, especially after United made it 3-0 a minute before half-time.
The goal came from Wayne Rooney's left-wing corner which was flicked on at the near-post by Blind and Leicester captain Morgan could do nothing apart from guide the ball into his own net as he tried to head clear.
Earlier, United had made a committed start from kick-off, with Schwarzer forced to race off his line and clear from Falcao inside the opening 10 seconds.
But it was cautious stuff thereafter as United looked to respond to the widespread criticism they earned on their last outing, the toothless goalless draw in the FA Cup against fourth-tier Cambridge United eight days earlier.
Apart from a mis-hit van Persie volley and Di Maria and Falcao squandering a promising break, United scored from their only three chances of the opening half while denying their opponents a solitary opportunity.
After the restart, young winger Adnan Januzaj, starting for the first time since November, sought to make his mark and his low cross just missed being turned in by the lunge of Falcao and forced Schwarzer into a diving stop.
The Belgian international also just cleared the crossbar with a promising 20-yard strike.
Leicester's first meaningful attack, which did not arrive until the 80th minute, yielded a goal when a cross from the right-hand by-line by substitute Marc Albrighton allowed defender Marcin Wasilewski to rise at the far post to head impressively past David de Gea.