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'
|Vidal: I never had a problem with Luis Enrique|
|Ancelotti not keen on Madrid Champions League reunion|
|Zabaleta: Guardiola needs Iheanacho more than ever|
|Ranieri not fearful of Foxes chop|
|Celtic fan arrested for throwing burger at police horse|
|Dad-to-be Lewandowski reveals baby news with goal celebration|
|Klopp´s Liverpool watched Barca at Camp Nou|
|Wenger braced for tough last-16 draw|
|Roberts buoyed by Guardiola acclaim|
|Gladbach´s Alvaro Dominguez retires at 27|
|Simeone satisfied with aggressive Atletico|
|Emery aims to bounce back after European disappointment|
|Madrid demand ´maximum respect´ for Ronaldo|
|No pressure on Iheanacho to fill Aguero´s boots - Guardiola|
|Cocu praises PSV effort despite European exit|
|Ancelotti hoping for confidence boost|
|Gunes takes blame for Besiktas thrashing|
|Vitoria upbeat despite Napoli defeat|
|Arda Barca future brighter after hat-trick|
|Le Tissier makes ´naked massage´ claims|
|´He has a smell for the goal´ - Wenger hails hat-trick hero Lucas|
|Guardiola to assess Roberts situation at end of season|
|Napoli have no fear - Reina|
|Iheanacho shines but Guardiola concerns lie deeper|
|Barcelona pass masters set new Champions League benchmark|
|Dybala ready to return for Juventus|
|PSV 0 Rostov 0: Russians seal Europa League spot with stalemate|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2 Ludogorets 2: Di Maria rescues draw but PSG miss out on top spot|
|Benfica 1 Napoli 2: Super-sub Mertens seals top spot|
|Dynamo Kiev 6 Besiktas 0: Nine-man visitors crash out|
|Messi fails to match Ronaldo´s Champions League record|
|Basel 1 Arsenal 4: Lucas hat-trick helps Gunners clinch top spot|
|Manchester City 1 Celtic 1: Roberts scores against parent club|
|Bayern Munich 1 Atletico Madrid 0: Lewandowski free-kick the difference in Bavaria|
|Barcelona 4 Borussia Monchengladbach 0: Arda hat-trick lights up Barca procession|
|Zidane ´more sympathetic´ than other Madrid coaches, says Ramos|
|Bartra eager to square up against old rivals Madrid|
|Pardew´s job is ´totally safe´ - Palace chairman|
|Shelvey and Dummett red card appeals successful|
|Lopes doubtful for Sevilla clash due to lack of sleep|
|Real Madrid test will bring the best out of Aubameyang - Tuchel|
|Slutsky to leave CSKA Moscow|
|Genesio hails Valbuena character|
|Spurs hungry for Europa League football - Vertonghen|
|Deschamps claims Pogba is unlikely to ever win Ballon d´Or|
|Xavi: Barca have not lost their essence|
|Strootman banned for sparking Rome derby brawl|
|Mkhitaryan accepts blame for slow start at United|
|New York City star Villa named MLS MVP|
|Ramos distances himself from tax avoidance scandal|
|Witsel casts doubt on January Juventus switch|
|Schmidt has faith in misfiring Hernandez|
|Gabriel not happy at Inter, says agent|
|PSG just another game for returning Balotelli|
|Dortmund eye top spot and a goalscoring record - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Southgate bids farewell to England assistant Lee|
|Europa League can help Spurs end Wembley hoodoo - Pochettino|
|Watmore´s season ended by injury|
|Zidane: Dortmund clash is a final|
|Gotze to miss Madrid test|
|Lacazette to ponder Lyon future|
|Griezmann lauds ´world class´ Aubameyang|
|Sporting´s in-demand Gelson going nowhere, claims agent|
|FA appoints new lead QC as scope of child sexual abuse review is outlined|
|Hodgson: England players failed to grasp my instructions|
|Xhaka pleads for time to settle in at Arsenal|
|Kluivert urges PSG to learn from Montpellier humbling|
|Augenthaler tips Bayern captain Lahm to play on|
|Rodgers: Celtic growing in confidence in Europe|
|Brazil-Colombia friendly proposed to raise money for Chapecoense|
|If you don´t play, you can´t shine - Hummels urges Mourinho to believe in Mkhitaryan|
|Ronaldinho ready to help Chapecoense|
|United can still finish top four - Guardiola|
|Bale´s ankle ´feeling better every day´|
|Sarri: Napoli in Lisbon to win|
|Watford and West Brom hit with FA charge|
|Karanka delighted with Boro´s game management|
|Middlesbrough 1 Hull City 0: Ramirez sinks sorry Tigers|
|Can Arsenal break the Basel curse? The Champions League in Opta Numbers|
|Everton confirm serious knee injury for Bolasie|
|Stam set for Old Trafford reunion in FA Cup third round|
|Sanchez, Ozil contract talks not just about money - Wenger|
|It is normal my son says I´ll coach Inter, I will - Simeone|
|Chapecoense confirmed as Copa Sudamericana champions|
|Sullivan backs Bilic to reverse Hammers´ fortunes|
|It was close...very close - Hummels reveals level of Man United interest|
|What You Might Have Missed: An FA Cup comeback of all comebacks and Monaco can´t stop scoring|
|Preston fans to be refunded from Beckford, Doyle fight fines|
|In-demand Lindelof ´happy to stay at Benfica´|
|FA charges City and Chelsea for late fracas|
|Darmstadt sack coach and sporting director after dismal run|
|Anyone who says they would not sign Messi is a liar! - Caballero|
|Roberto warns Madrid: Barcelona will cut the gap|
|Emery: Champions League top spot was always PSG´s priority|
|Guardiola brands Sanchez transfer rumours as lies|
|Boateng ruled out of Bayern´s clash with Atletico|
|FA confirms four-game ban for Aguero|
|Blatter FIFA ban remains after CAS dismisses appeal|
|Luis Enrique: I don´t give a damn about beating Gladbach|
|Emre hits out at Allardyce´s style... and slams his chewing gum|
|Bravo the world´s best goalkeeper, says Pellegrini|
|Ibrahimovic: I know how to kick someone and make him fall asleep|
|Barcelona and Real Madrid would not win 5-0 in Ligue 1 - Verratti|
|Seedorf out, Eriksson in at second-tier Chinese club|
|Tevez to China? Shanghai Shenhua claim ´breakthrough´ in talks|
|´English football is not more pure´ – Pochettino will not slam Alli for ´dive´|
|Gudjohnsen offers his services to Chapecoense|
|Savicevic: Champions League qualification paramount for Milan|
|Wenger: West Ham could take two years to settle|
|River Plate play in green as tribute to Chapecoense|
|Roberto Carlos open to coaching in A-League|
|Wenger confident there is more to come from Arsenal|
|Kane wants to see out career at Tottenham|
|Aguero challenge labelled ´crazy´ by disappointed Cahill|
|Mourinho ´has nothing to hide´ over tax affairs|