Man Utd player ratings v Everton: 9/10 for 'constant threat' as another gets 8/10 - gallery

Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford grabbed the important goals in a 2-0 win for Manchester United.

Manchester United earned an important 2-0 win against Everton on Saturday, as they hunt down the Champions League places.

It was a familar story for Erik ten Hag's side, who failed to impress for long spells but offered enough cutting edge in the attacking areas to grab three points. Both goals came via the same method as Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford converted penalties that were earned by star perfromer Alejandro Garnacho in the first half.

It was an opening 45 where Everton carried a more consistent threat from open play but were undone by two driving Garnacho runs. In the ninth minute, the winger went down following a slight brush from James Tarkowski’s boot, with referee Simon Hooper pointing to the spot. Bruno Fernandes stood up and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to give United an early advantage.

If there was any doubt about the award of the first penalty, the second was clear cut as Garnacho surged through the centre of Everton and was eventually upended by Ben Godfrey inside the box. For the second time the aerodynamic Argentinian pumped his fists at the Stretford End and this occasion it was Rashford who converted from the spot.

In between then, it was a sloppy first 45 for United, a performance imbued with misplaced passes and the soft centre that has so often been United’s downfall this season. On this occasion, the extra man in the middle may have saved the Red Devils with Fernandes operating as a false nine. The Portugal international saw a 27th minute free-kick saved by Jordan Pickford’s big right hand, while Casemiro also went close with a header and Victor Lindelof’s curled effort from the edge of the area was saved.

As for Everton, they again demonstrated why a lack of a regular goal-scorer could be their downfall this season. The Toffees missed 12 first-half chance, with a Dwight McNeil volley, a vicious James Garner strike and two dangerous Jack Harrison efforts among their best openings.

But United’s threat proved much more potent, and Garnacho could have earned a third penalty just before the break when his cross struck the trailing arm of Vitali Mykolenko. The Everton left-back was fortunate to escape punishment on that occasion.

The second half was a similar story with Everton ending the game on 23 shots. But with just six on target, Onana simply wasn’t tested enough. The closest the Merseysiders came was when the United stopper kept out Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s tame header from a corner.

Again, United played the role of the antagonist in the second period but offered dangerous chances via transitional moments. Twice Garnacho had attempts from narrow angles, while Lindelof and then Jonny Evans couldn't turn the ball from a scrappy goalmouth scramble.

There was little jeopardy in the latter stages as Everton searched for a way back into the game - but that never looked liked. United were given a third penalty in injury-time when Jarrad Branthwaite caught Rashford in the box, but the assistant referee's offside flag came to Everton's rescue.

Here's how we rated the players...

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