As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw his side secure a much-needed victory at Goodison Park, Manchester United came from behind to beat Everton.
In a 3-1 victory at Everton that will ease the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Bruno Fernandes scored twice and Edinson Cavani opened his Manchester United account.
The Premier League clash at Goodison Park on Saturday, after back-to-back defeats to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir, was seen by some as a must-win match for Solskjaer in the midst of increasing speculation about his future.
As Bernard put Carlo Ancelotti’s side ahead, things looked alarming for the Red Devils leader, but Fernandes scored twice before half-time and Cavani struck to death to deliver three precious points.
As United pursued a positive start, Anthony Martial, back from a three-game domestic suspension, dragged a shot wide from a promising spot.
However, after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had assisted on Jordan Pickford’s long kick, the visitors were behind 19 minutes in, as Bernard squeezed an attempt into the bottom-left corner between Aaron Wan-Bissaka ‘s legs.
In the previous meeting at this ground, Fernandes equalized and he drew United level again, powering a header beyond Pickford after running into the box to meet the delivery of Luke Shaw.
After Marcus Rashford tried to glance it in, the Portugal international then put his side ahead, his cross at the end of a 20-pass sequence going in off the right-hand post.
After the Everton goalkeeper had lost the ball, United Captain Harry Maguire required a penalty when Pickford and Michael Keane disagreed with him, but neither the officials on the pitch nor those using VAR agreed.
Rashford smashed another Pickford strike as United struggled to find a third goal on the break, even though, despite the Toffees dominating possession in the second half, they held the home side at bay.
Maguire’s interception sent Fernandes away on the break as Everton poured forward in injury time, and he waited before teeing up Cavani to sweep home.
What does that imply? Solskjaer is keeping wolves out of the door
It was highly unlikely that defeat here would spell an imminent end to Solskjaer’s time in charge, but this was a significant outcome to ease some of the recent mounting criticism.
This result was made more remarkable by the fact that it came against a side unbeaten in three games against United, at a stage where they lost 4-0 in April last year in their worst display under the Norwegian.
United is on 10 points out of seven games and three behind Everton, whose boss has now endured three straight league losses for the first time since he was at AC Milan in November 2006.
In their first 10 away matches in the Premier League, no player has achieved as many target involvements as Fernandes (15).
He was an important force in pushing the Everton midfield, winning three tackles, more than any other in red, above his double and assist here.
James stayed silent
Before being replaced by Cenk Tosun, James Rodriguez failed to impact matters from the Everton right, generating no chances and attempting no shots.
And what is next?
United host West Brom after the November 21 international break. Everton will fly to Fulham on the same day.