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'
|Arsenal still gunning for glory - Gibbs|
|Quinteros named Ecuador coach|
|Sturridge eager to prove fitness|
|Blanc: ´We were expecting better´|
|Hecking proud of Wolfsburg|
|Boateng urges Bayern to learn from Wolfsburg thrashing|
|Sporting Braga 1 Moreirense 0: Santos the hero for hosts|
|Cordoba complete triple swoop, Levante bring in two|
|Partick Thistle 0 St Mirren 1: Debutant Dayton the hero|
|Rayo Vallecano 1 Deportivo La Coruna 2: Borges debut double downs hosts|
|Bournemouth 2 Watford 0: Championship leaders stroll to success|
|Dordrecht 0 Heerenveen 0: Visitors´ woes compounded by Sinkgraven sale|
|Paris Saint-Germain 1 Rennes 0: Lavezzi goal enough for champions|
|Palace confirm Souare capture|
|Barcelona v Villarreal: Xavi looking to put high-flyers in their place|
|Simeone denies gesture towards referee|
|Wolfsburg 4 Bayern Munich 1: Dost and De Bruyne at the double as hosts honour Malanda|
|Ben Arfa ineligible to play for Nice|
|Ginola calls time on FIFA presidency bid|
|Cork seals Swansea switch|
|Arsenal v Aston Villa: Wenger lauds team spirit|
|Strootman out for longer than expected|
|Southampton v Swansea City: Monk eager for return to form|
|Injury blow for Southampton striker Long|
|Montella confirms Cuadrado will join Chelsea|
|Bordeaux bring in Chantome from PSG|
|Huth suspended for two matches over tweets|
|Udinese v Juventus: Pirlo not taking Serie A lead for granted|
|Carlisle to return home|
|Prince Ali outlines campaign after submitting FIFA president bid|
|Costa must improve behaviour - Pellegrini|
|Olic seals Hamburg return|
|FIFPro planning legal action to protect unpaid players|
|Burnley rule out Liverpool move for Ings|
|Pochettino fumes at Tottenham schedule|
|Cork set for Swansea switch|
|Hull left in the cold by local gas board|
|Ancelotti: No repeat of Ronaldo indiscretion|
|Murray signs Palace extension|
|Garcia: Roma will sign a replacement for Destro|
|Sassuolo v Inter: Ranocchia hopes turning point has come|
|Congo v Democratic Republic of Congo: Neighbours clash in AFCON quarter-final|
|Fletcher in West Ham talks|
|Tunisia v Equatorial Guinea: Favourites wary of hosts|
|Carrick to miss four weeks|
|Figo submits bid for FIFA presidency|
|Costa hit with three-match ban|
|Villa confirm Sinclair loan|
|Hull agree fee for N´Doye|
|Milan clubs should merge, says agent Raiola|
|Redknapp brands Fer speculation ´absolute rubbish´|
|Destro completes Milan move|
|Iraq 2 UAE 3: Khalil´s brace sees off Iraqis|
|Ward-Prowse signs Southampton deal|
|Mandanda: Marseille will turn it around|
|Fuchs backs Schalke goalkeeper Giefer to shine|
|Wenger unlikely to risk Sanchez, could start Gabriel|
|Newcastle would need ´ridiculous´ bid to sell Sissoko|
|Kramer sure of sustained Champions League challenge|
|Sturridge would have steered Liverpool to Wembley - Rodgers|
|South Korea claim underdog status|
|We can handle the pressure, says Postecoglou|
|Cheyrou joins Toronto|
|AFC boss rejects Australia expulsion claims|
|Australia v South Korea: Socceroos eyeing maiden Asian Cup|
|Wolfsburg plan Malanda tribute|
|Blanc: Ibrahimovic, Cavani need to improve partnership|
|NBA´s Kings invest in Sacramento Republic|
|Djukic slams Ronaldo as ´ugly and conceited´|
|Marcelino hails Villarreal´s historic achievement|
|Destro: I want to show Milan are great|
|Copa del Rey Review: Aduriz breaks drought to send Bilbao through|
|Blaszczykowski to miss Leverkusen clash|
|Villarreal swoop for Bailly|
|CAF to consider alternatives to drawing lots|
|Ginola ´not giving up´ on FIFA presidency bid|
|Eto´o backs Sampdoria´s European dream|
|Chelsea v Manchester City: Costa out and Fabregas doubtful for title showdown|
|Sunderland v Burnley: Poyet calls for change in mentality|
|Serie A Preview: Crisis clubs meet as Parma head to Milan|
|West Brom v Tottenham: Pulis excited by McManaman arrival|
|Ginola campaign cancels crowdfunding page|
|Stoke City v QPR: Hughes hopeful of Diouf boost|
|Manchester United v Leicester City: Pearson has no time for fond memories|
|Thai consortium completes Wednesday purchase|
|Wigan exodus continues as Ramos joins Levante|
|Crystal Palace v Everton: Martinez hoping to reap Qatar training rewards|
|Liverpool v West Ham: Allardyce backs Carroll to shine on Anfield return|
|Strootman injury ´nothing serious´|
|Pearson backs Kramaric to adapt quickly|
|Hull City v Newcastle United: Carver calls for repeat KC Stadium rout|
|Rodgers not expecting immediate Sturridge impact|
|Palace land free agent Ameobi|
|Guinea progress past Mali in drawing of lots|
|Strootman requires surgery|
|Mathieu reveals details of Luis Enrique-Messi bust-up|
|New Inter signing Brozovic wants to be the next Frank Lampard|
|Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund: Visitors aim for fresh start|
|Eibar v Atletico Madrid: Capa up for a fight|
|Whelan and Crouch sign new Stoke deals|
|Mutch joins Palace from QPR|
|Eriksen delighted by League Cup double|
|Real Madrid v Real Sociedad: Moyes´ men out for rare Real double|
|Nolan impressed by Carroll attitude|
|Wenger: Gabriel will adapt to English football|
|Destro says yes to Milan move|
|Allardyce not expecting Sakho ban|
|Ribery sidelined for three Bayern Munich matches|
|Cahill refuses to rule out retirement after Asian Cup final|
|Pogba to leave Juve by end of next season - Agent|
|Martinez not planning Eto´o replacement|
|Blatter formally submits bid to remain FIFA president|
|Puncheon predicts ´great times´ for Palace|
|Donadoni has no plans to leave Parma and criticises Cassano|
|Mangala: My first season at City could have been better|
|UAE v Iraq: Rare podium finish on offer|
|Ryan spurred on by Australia´s 2011 heartbreak|
|Montella will not sell Cuadrado cheap|
|Mali, Guinea furious with tie-breaking procedure|
|Luis Enrique defends Neymar´s behaviour|
|Gabi: Referee lacked personality|
|Chile 3 USA 2: Gonzalez´s brace extends Americans´ pain|
|Franjic cleared of serious injury|
|Our progression was deserved - Pochettino|