Manchester United ended a run of four Premier League games without a win as they made light work of a feeble Swansea City side.
United dominated from the start and were 3-0 up at half-time thanks to Paul Pogba’s stunning drive and two goals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic – his first in the league since September.
Mike van der Hoorn headed in for Swansea midway through the second half but there was no real danger for the visitors, whose manager Jose Mourinho watched from the stand because of a touchline ban.
United climb up to sixth in the table, while a 10th Premier League match without victory means Swansea remain second from bottom.
The Swans’ dismal performance prompted boos from the home crowd and left manager Bob Bradley with just one point from his first four games in charge.
But for Mourinho, a second win in eight league matches comes as welcome relief following a difficult few weeks.
Ibrahimovic and United back in the groove
Although he was banished to the stands, Mourinho made his presence felt with six changes from Thursday’s Europa League defeat at Fenerbahce.
One of those recalled was Ibrahimovic, whose attitude Mourinho had praised as “brilliant” despite a barren spell which had seen the Swede fail to score in six Premier League games.
Happily for Ibrahimovic and United, they faced a ramshackle Swansea defence in charitable mood.
While Pogba’s exquisite strike would have beaten any goalkeeper, Ibrahimovic’s low drive only found its way to the net because it was met with such weak resistance from Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Mourinho could sit back and relax as his side controlled the match with embarrassing ease, Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Ibrahimovic all rediscovering their form to torment their abject opponents.
Ibrahimovic’s second goal was a microcosm of the match as he brushed aside Angel Rangel’s untidy challenge before clipping the ball beyond Fabianski.
From Brad to worse…
If United’s sequence of four league games without victory was a worry, Swansea’s winless run stretching back to the opening weekend of the season was a cause for grave concern.
They were thoroughly outplayed at Stoke on Monday and were even worse against United, poor in every facet of the game.
The atmosphere soured inside the Liberty Stadium as the hosts’ defence unravelled, with the home crowd chanting “we want our club back” in reference to the Swans’ American takeover in the summer and the subsequent disastrous results on the pitch.
Bradley’s switch to a 4-4-2 formation was woefully ineffective and, after reverting to the familiar 4-2-3-1 system for the second half, Swansea improved.
There were faint hopes of a comeback when Van der Hoorn headed in from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick – and things might have been different had Ibrahimovic’s apparent kick at Leroy Fer been punished by more than a yellow card.
Those were ultimately academic points, however, as Swansea limped to a sixth defeat from seven games, stumbling deeper into the relegation mire.
“We were pushed deep in the first half and didn’t have enough time on the ball. When we did have time on the ball we weren’t very sharp.
“They punished us with long shots. They had three shots and three goals so it was strange in that respect.
“The second half was better and there were some positives. But not big positives. We understand there is a lot of work to be done. We need to stay strong.
“I would have hoped in my earlier games to take more points. But I understand that in the Premier League you have to fight every week. The dressing room knows that – we’re all on the same page.”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho:
“We were really impressive in our control of the game. We controlled it by having a lot of the ball and hurting the opponent when we could.
“Credit to my defensive line – Ashley Young is not a right-back, Matteo Darmian is not a left-back, Phil Jones was a great guy to make himself available for the team even without training for months.
“We needed these thee points after losing two against Burnley at home. This was the best way to end the period before the internationals.”
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on not scoring in his previous three games:
“I wasn’t worried. As long as you create the chances, which I have been doing, the goals will come. But the most important thing is the win. The goals will come.”
International duty is next up for most of the Swansea and Manchester United players.
After that, United host Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday, 19 November (12:30 GMT), while Swansea travel to Everton later that day (15:00).