BIRMINGHAM, England, July 9 (Reuters) - Manchester United kept up their chase for a top-four spot with a comfortable 3-0 win at relegation-threatened Aston Villa in the Premier League on Thursday.
The victory means United, who are now unbeaten in 17 matches in all competitions, became the first team since the formation of the Premier League to win four consecutive matches by a margin of three or more goals.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are fifth in the table, one point behind fourth-placed Leicester City and two adrift of Chelsea in third with four games left.
United went ahead in the 27th minute after a debatable penalty award when referee Jon Moss ruled that Ezri Konsa had brought down Bruno Fernandes just inside the box. The Portugal international rose to convert the spot-kick.
Villa keeper Pepe Reina was kept busy, dealing with efforts from Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood while Fernandes missed a great chance when he headed over when unmarked with the goal at his mercy.
There was no dispute about United’s second goal, though, just before the break, a thundering drive from the talented Greenwood after good work from Martial.
Paul Pogba wrapped up the win against a Villa side who looked demoralised when Fernandes played a clever corner deep to the Frenchman outside the box and the World Cup winner placed the ball in the bottom corner past a motionless Reina.
Martial blasted against the bar as United threatened to run riot against Dean Smith’s side who are next to bottom on 27 points, four behind 17th-placed Watford.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond