Marcus Rashford scored twice on his 200th appearance for Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men impressively recorded their first victory of 2020.
The United boss badly needed three points after defeats in different competitions to Arsenal and Manchester City and an FA Cup bore draw against Wolves – and Rashford delivered with Anthony Martial and substitute Mason Greenwood also getting on the scoresheet.
They could even afford a miss of the season from full-back Brandon Williams.
Rashford, outstanding throughout, volleyed Juan Mata’s brilliant pass for the opening goal in the first half and then rammed home a penalty as the home side kept pressure on Chelsea for a Champions League spot, with Martial heading in a third.
Norwich, missing top scorer Teemu Pukki through injury, did have a great chance at 1-0 down on the stroke of half-time when David de Gea denied Todd Cantwell but remain rooted to the bottom of the table, seven points from safety.
United had good news before kick off when Harry Maguire was declared fit following a hip injury and handed the captain’s armband.
He was able to have a relatively comfortable afternoon as United dominated the ball leaving Canaries teenage striker Adam Idah isolated up front.
It became clear from kick off that Solskjaer wanted his team to express themselves with full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams pushed high.
Andreas Pereira and Rashford tried a range of pirouettes and flicks to rouse the crowd and the drip-drip pressure paid dividends after 27 minutes.
Juan Mata, brought into the team for his creativity, produced a lovely pass from the right that dissected the Norwich defence and Rashford timed his run to the far post perfectly, sidefooting first-time for his 18th goal of the season.
United’s confidence rose visibly after the opening goal. Pereira tested Krul with a shot from the edge, Rashford tried his luck from an acute angle and even Fred had a decent dig from 18 yards that curled wide.
Rashford was withdrawn by Solskjaer after 59 minutes. A hat-trick would have been nice but the manager obviously regarded upcoming engagements against Wolves, Liverpool and Manchester City in the next 10 days as more important.
To underline this was an afternoon where everything Solskjaer wanted fell into place, his second substitute Mason Greenwood shifted the ball to the edge of box and drilled home after 76 minutes.
With the game won and intensity levels dropping, a fair contingent of United fans joined in the chant of “We want Glazers out” – symbolic of their overall unhappiness with the club ownership and United’s lack of success since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
This was United’s biggest Premier League win since the opening day against Chelsea but it’ll take more than one thumping against a poor team to convince the season-ticket holders everything is sorted at Old Trafford.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, Fred, Matic, Pereira (Greenwood 71), Mata, Rashford (James 59), Martial (Gomes 80)
Subs not used: Jones, Grant, Dalot, Chong
Goals: Rashford (27, 52), Martial (54), Greenwood (76)
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Norwich: Krul, Byram, Hanley (Lewis 80), Zimmermann, Aarons, Tettey, Vrancic (Amadou 65), Cantwell, McLean, Buendia, Idah (Hernandez 65)
Subs not used: Leitner, Stiepermann, Trybull, Fahrmann
Manager: Daniel Farke
Referee: Anthony Taylor.