Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata scored doubles to beat Norwich City 4-0 and give Ryan Giggs a dream start in the Manchester United dugout.
Giggs is in interim charge of the reigning Premier League champions following David Moyes' sacking earlier this week.
Taking to the touchline in a club suit, United's longest-serving player looked the part in a role that may only be temporary if pre-match speculation linking Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal with the Old Trafford hot-seat is to be believed.
Alex Ferguson has backed Giggs to take on the job full-time, and the hosts displayed an early intensity of the kind associated with the Scot's reign.
Much of United's first-half work lacked penetration, but Rooney scored a penalty four minutes before half-time and then doubled his tally three minutes after the break.
Substitute Mata then struck twice to complete the scoring, leaving Old Trafford delighted and Norwich perilously placed just a point and a place above the relegation zone with two matches remaining.
The two marquee signings of the Moyes era fared badly as Giggs made six changes. Mata dropped to the bench and Marouane Fellaini did not make the matchday 18.
Giggs was afforded a predictably rapturous reception before recalled right winger Antonio Valencia was heavily involved as United sought a fast opening - although, unfortunately, the Ecuador international's early deliveries lacked quality.
Jonny Howson had the ball in the net for Norwich after David De Gea had fumbled Ricky van Wolfswinkel's ninth-minute header, but the Dutch striker was rightly penalised for a push on Phil Jones.
City's first testing moment came via the United left in the 14th minute when Martin Olsson failed to clear Patrice Evra's searching cross before Danny Welbeck reacted quickest to the loose ball, forcing John Ruddy to save smartly at his near post.
United then found themselves in the all-too-familiar position of struggling for fluency but, after Ruddy had beaten a ball from Valencia out of the goalmouth, the Old Trafford crowd was on its feet in the 41st minute as Rooney converted from the spot.
Jones' speculative pass found its way through a crowd of Norwich defenders to Welbeck, who was clumsily fouled by Steven Whittaker, and Rooney sent Ruddy the wrong way from the resulting penalty to record a 16th league goal of the season.
Norwich were then left with a mountain to climb after the restart when Rooney was allowed to advance unchallenged towards the edge of the area. Despite losing his footing, the England forward's shot curled beyond Ruddy and into the bottom corner.
Robert Snodgrass was Norwich's standout attacking threat and he tested De Gea with a 58th-minute free-kick, having drawn a foul from Nemanja Vidic, but the game was over as a contest five minutes later.
Having saved impressively from Welbeck, Ruddy pushed the ball clear as Rooney sought a hat-trick, but Jones drilled the ball back into the box and Mata converted.
The Spain international then nodded his second goal after Valencia had smashed a 73rd-minute volley across the area, and Old Trafford was able to bask in an optimism rarely felt over recent months.
Substitute Johan Elmander and Bradley Johnson went close and Olsson saw a deflected drive strike the crossbar in a belated Norwich rally, but caretaker manager Neil Adams now faces the daunting prospect of games against Chelsea and Arsenal in which to salvage their top-flight status.
|10||W. Rooney||41' 48'|
|Coach: R. Giggs|
for D. Welbeck 60'
for S. Kagawa 65'
for T. Cleverley 71'
|USA simply too good - Sasaki|
|Portland Timbers 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Jewsbury wins it in stoppage time|
|No move yet for Van Persie|
|Lloyd wins Golden Ball, Silver Boot awards|
|Mascherano: I never grabbed Banega|
|Dunga requested Brazil not appeal Neymar´s suspension|
|United States 5 Japan 2: Lloyd stars with hat-trick|
|Fiorentina deny Inter criticism|
|Nani relishing Fenerbahce opportunity|
|Newcastle hold talks over Northampton youngster|
|Cuadrado´s agent plays down Chelsea exit rumours|
|Liverpool´s Alberto set for Deportivo loan|
|Leverkusen suffer surprise defeat, Stuttgart hit six|
|Inter ´dismayed´ at Fiorentina vice-president´s Salah Twitter outburst|
|Blaszczykowski ruled out of Dortmund´s Asia tour|
|Gerrard gets the beers in for LA Galaxy fans|
|De Gea coy over Real links|
|Former Brazil star Carlos handed Delhi reins|
|Ciftci will not push through Celtic switch – agent|
|In-demand Mitrovic considering Roma offer|
|Lehmann calls on Cech to ´get over´ Chelsea|
|Marlos double sinks Monaco|
|Mauritius 0 South Africa 2 (agg 0-5): Bafana set up Angola qualifier|
|Keane relishing Gerrard arrival|
|Palace confirm Cabaye interest|
|Hamburg bring in Spahic after head-butt ban|
|Blatter hits out at France and Germany over World Cup votes|
|Sanchez: World Cup exit spurred Chile to Copa glory|
|Jojic makes Cologne switch, Santana move falls through|
|Carrillo keen to get going at Monaco|
|Micronesia thrashed 38-0 as Fiji triumph in Olympic qualifier|
|Schalke stunned by ´machine´ Caicara|
|MLS Review: Keane shines at Gerrard´s Galaxy unveiling|
|Counter-attacking the key for Japan|
|Jimenez happy at Atletico|
|Gerrard predicts ´successful future´ with Galaxy|
|Iniesta can´t see Real selling Ramos|
|Keshi sacked as Nigeria coach|
|Three finals, three defeats for Messi, Mascherano|
|Nani close to Fenerbahce move|
|Sampaoli revels in ´unbelievable joy´|
|Bravo: Copa victory a dream|
|Martino: Argentina should have won|
|Chile 0 Argentina 0 (4-1 on penalties): Hosts end trophy drought|
|Germany 0 England 1 (after extra time): England make World Cup history|
|Kenya 0 Ethiopia 0 (agg 0-2): Hosts sent out of CHAN qualifiers after second penalty miss|
|Dortmund put 17 past Olympians, Bremen hand out thrashing|
|Dinamo Zagreb confirm arrests of coach and club president|
|I didn´t know who Wimbledon guest Klopp was - Brown|
|LeBron James backs Liverpool captain Henderson for FIFA 16 cover.|
|Ramos: I am not negotiating with anyone|
|Valencia complete Mina swoop|
|United States v Japan: US seek final redemption|
|Hanousek consigns Celtic to defeat|
|Roma confirm Dzeko interest|
|Arsenal forward Podolski completes Galatasaray switch|
|Warm Dortmund welcome delights Tuchel|
|Silva vows to fight for Madrid place|
|Mancini hints at Shaqiri and Santon departures|
|Bojan raring to go after return from injury|
|Babel backs Firmino to shine at Liverpool|
|Falcao must wait to impress, warns Chelsea favourite|
|Bartomeu: Deal in place for Turan|
|Parejo re-signs with Valencia|
|MLS Review: Sounders return to winning ways|
|Klinsmann unhappy with USA performance|
|High hopes for Paraguay - Diaz|
|Gareca: More to come from Peru|
|Gerrard had European offers|
|Argentina out to spoil Chile´s party - Martino|
|Sampaoli: Chile won´t change style|
|Di Maria will come good at United - Rojo|
|Peru 2 Paraguay 0: Gareca´s men finish third at Copa|
|United States 4 Guatemala 0: Klinsmann´s men win comfortably|
|´I’d prefer no-one to know my name´ - Bassett|