LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United's top-four aspirations suffered a setback as Louis van Gaal's side were blown away 3-0 by clinical Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.
First-half goals from James McCarthy and John Stones put hosts Everton in control at Goodison Park and substitute Kevin Mirallas sealed victory on the counter-attack late on.
Fourth-placed United enjoyed plenty of possession but lacked any cutting edge with striker Radamel Falcao's frustration complete when he had a consolation goal disallowed for offside.
Defeat, following last week's reverse against Chelsea, leaves United still a comfortable seven points above fifth-placed Liverpool although that gap could be sliced to four if Liverpool win their game in hand at Hull City on Tuesday.
United could have gone second with a victory, at least until Sunday's late game between Arsenal and leaders Chelsea, but they went behind after five minutes when Everton swiftly moved out of defence and McCarthy burst between Paddy McNair and Daley Blind to poke his shot past United goalkeeper David de Gea.
It proved a frustrating afternoon for former Everton players Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini.
Fellaini wasted a great chance to equalise and was booked for hacking down Seamus Coleman shortly afterwards.
Everton increased their lead with a powerful Stones header from a corner that Ashley Young, positioned on the goalline, could not keep out of the net.
Everton completed their biggest win over United for 23 years in the 84th minute when Mirallas charged through from deep to finish cooly with United's defence expecting an offside flag to be raised against Romelu Lukaku.