David Moyes enjoyed one of his best afternoons as Manchester United manager as his side warmed up for Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich with a convincing 4-1 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney scored twice before the break to cancel out Ashley Westwood’s opener, while Juan Mata scored his first goal since completing his £37.1m move from Chelsea in January. Substitute Javier Hernandez added a late fourth to complete the rout.
Much of the pre-match talk revolved around the plane carrying an anti-David Moyes message; however, the Manchester United faithful greeted their beleaguered manager with cheers and applause as the Scot took his seat in the dugout.
The majority of the home supporters booed the plane when it flew over Old Trafford during the opening stages of the match, which were relatively non-eventful.
However, the low-key opening was disrupted when Westwood put Aston Villa ahead with a sweetly-struck free-kick. The midfielder stepped up and curled his shot into the corner of the net, after Rafael had fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor on the edge of the box, leaving David de Gea no chance.
Just six minutes later, though, the reigning Premier League champions were back on level terms. Rooney scoring his first of the afternoon with a smart glancing header after being picked out by the excellent Shinji Kagawa, who was one of the Red Devils’ standout performers this afternoon.
But it was Rooney who made the biggest impact - scoring his second, and putting United in front, with a brilliant penalty on the stroke of half time. Referee Martin Atkinson was left with little option but to award a spot-kick after Leandro Bacuna fouled Mata inside the box, and up stepped Rooney to score his 15th Premier League goal of the campaign.
It was no more than Manchester United deserved, and Moyes’ side increased their lead just before the hour-mark when Fellaini prodded the ball to Mata, who cooly tucked home his first goal for the Red Devils.
Christian Benteke missed a couple of great opportunities to score for the away side, while the scoreline could have been far more emphatic for the hosts had Brad Guzan not make a couple of crucial stops.
However, there was nothing the American goalkeeper could do about Hernandez’s late goal in the closing stages of the match. Adnan Januzaj picked out his fellow substitute, and the Mexico international couldn’t miss from a yard out.
All in all, it was a hugely encouraging performance for Moyes, who now prepares to go head-to-head with Pep Guardiola in three days time.