Manchester United got back to winning ways and earned a first victory at Goodison Park since 2011 thanks to goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney.
It was the perfect way for the Reds to return to Barclays Premier League action following the international break and a chastening 3-0 defeat at Arsenal last time out. The result also maintained pressure on the leaders, Manchester City, who secured a comfortable 4-1 win over Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium.
Saturday’s match was tinged with emotion with the news that Howard Kendall, the former Everton player and manager, had died at the age of 69 and the players wore black armbands as a mark of respect. A minute’s applause also preceded kick-off at Goodison Park, where Louis van Gaal made four changes to his starting XI by recalling Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Schneiderlin and Herrera.
A slow start in the previous game at Arsenal allowed the Gunners to score three times in the first 19 minutes and the manager demanded a much-improved opening on Merseyside. He got his wish, too, when Chris Smalling chested Rojo’s shot towards Schneiderlin for the Frenchman to bag his first United goal with a cool finish on 18 minutes. Herrera doubled the lead four minutes later when the Spaniard stormed into the area to head Rojo’s fine cross past former Reds goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Jones briefly left the action on 30 minutes to stem the flow of blood pouring from his nose, which was the result of an increasingly physical first half that also saw David De Gea and Anthony Martial temporarily go down with knocks. Although Everton pressed for a goal before the break, the closest they came was a powerful effort from Ross Barkley that was clawed away by De Gea on 45 minutes…