Paul Pogba returned from injury to inspire Manchester United to a 4-1 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.
The France midfielder, fit again after a two-month absence, scored and set up another goal as United replied to Dwight Gayle’s early strike to keep themselves eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Pogba created the equaliser for Anthony Martial before Chris Smalling put the hosts ahead. Pogba then increased the advantage and Romelu Lukaku made victory certain by ending his barren run.
United’s night got even better when they were able to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic, out since April with a knee injury, on for his long-awaited comeback in the closing stages.
The result meant United boss Jose Mourinho got the better of his old rival Rafael Benitez in their first clash for a decade.
Pogba restored fluidity and dynamism to United’s midfield but the Magpies looked equally dangerous in the early stages.
Lukaku spurned the first chance when he headed over but Ciaran Clark was also off target at the other end.
Newcastle grabbed the lead in the 14th minute after DeAndre Yedlin broke clear down the right and pulled the ball back. Victor Lindelof, making his first league start for United, slipped and Gayle took advantage to fire in a low shot off the post.
It was the first home goal United had conceded in the league this season and a second almost followed as Jonjo Shelvey played in Jacob Murphy but he shot wide.
United responded with Lukaku heading over before Pogba floated in a tempting cross for Martial to power home a 37th-minute equaliser.
Joselu headed dangerously close to his own goal as United threatened another but Newcastle continued to fight with Shelvey trying his luck from distance.
United went ahead in first-half stoppage time as Smalling, still forward following a corner, rose to meet an Ashley Young cross at the far post.
It gave the hosts an advantage they almost immediately lost as Newcastle put together another quick counter-attack. Isaac Hayden broke into the area but his shot was parried by David de Gea and Matt Ritchie’s follow-up was deflected wide by Gayle.
United made the most of that reprieve to increase their advantage early in the second half. Lukaku’s cross from the right was met by a cushioned header from Marcus Rashford and Pogba raced in to tap over the line.
That gave United a measure of control but Newcastle went close again as Murphy forced De Gea into a good save.
Pogba was withdrawn with just over 20 minutes remaining to a good ovation but there was more to come from United as Lukaku increased their lead moments later.
He exchanged passes with Juan Mata and lashed a shot into the roof of the net for his first United goal since September.
That left the crowd in good heart and they had even more reason to cheer as Ibrahimovic came on to help close out the victory.