Romelu Lukaku immediately started to pay off his transfer fee with two goals as Manchester United beat West Ham 4-0 in their Premier League opener.
The £75million club record signing struck in each half as United justified pre-season optimism with a sparkling and confident display at Old Trafford.
The Hammers were completely outplayed and could easily have trailed by more goals before substitute Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba finally put a more realistic slant on the scoreline in the closing minutes.
What they saidManchester United boss Jose Mourinho on Lukaku: “He is playing well, he is working hard. He likes the team and the team likes him. Any striker can play phenomenally hard but if he doesn’t score goals the pressure is on them, so good for him, good for Wayne Rooney, (Alexandre) Lacazette, Morata – good for all the strikers arriving in new clubs and scoring in the first days. It is always oxygen, happiness and confidence for them. But Romelu knows me well. He knows sometimes strikers can play very well for the team without scoring goals. He knows from me there is no pressure at all. But today he was good, very effective.” West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: “They were much better than us in every department – better without the ball, better with the ball. If you give them time and space in those pockets they are lethal and they showed that. It shouldn’t affect our confidence, although it will. We are very low at the moment. The players feel bad.”
Tweet of the match
Star Man – Nemanja Matic
Lukaku’s goals may grab the headlines but it was Matic that allowed United to boss the game. The Serbian was outstanding, covering plenty of ground, refusing to allow West Ham any meaningful possession and launching numerous attacks. It was a commanding display and, if it is repeated many more times, Chelsea will rue letting him go.
Moment of the match
As United controlled the first half, it seemed only a matter of time before they opened the scoring. All eyes were on £75million club record signing Lukaku and he handled the pressure superbly. He took the first decent chance that came his way with supreme confidence, running on to a good pass from Marcus Rashford and smashing home off the post. It was a moment that delighted Old Trafford and offered much encouragement for the season ahead.
View from the bench
United boss Jose Mourinho will reflect on a highly satisfactory afternoon. After some pedestrian performances last season, there are now strong signs the team have evolved. United had bite, pace and creativity. The Louis van Gaal era now seems ever more distant. For Slaven Bilic the signs are far less encouraging. Admittedly, West Ham showed little ambition and only seemed intent on damage limitation, but there may be concerns they allowed themselves to be bossed about too easily.
Player ratingsManchester United: David de Gea 6, Antonio Valencia 6, Phil Jones 6, Eric Bailly 6,Daley Blind 6, Nemanja Matic 9, Paul Pogba 7, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 8, Juan Mata 7, Marcus Rashford 7,Romelu Lukaku 8. Substitutes: Marouane Fellaini (for Mata, 76) 6, Anthony Martial (for Rashford, 80) 7, Jesse Lingard (for Mkhitaryan, 88) 5.West Ham: Joe Hart 6, Pablo Zabaleta 6, Winston Reid 6, Angelo Ogbonna 7, Arthur Masuaku 6, Mark Noble 6, Pedro Obiang 5, Edimilson Fernandes 5, Andre Ayew 5, Marko Arnautovic 4, Javier Hernandez 4. Substitutes: Diafra Sakho (for Fernandes, 60) 5, Declan Rice (for Noble, 61) 5, Aaron Cresswell (for Masuaku, 81) 5.
Who’s up next?
Swansea v Manchester United (Premier League, August 19)
Southampton v West Ham (Premier League, August 19)