MACHESTER, England — Manchester United provisionally moved within one point of the English Premier League summit after beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0 on Saturday.
Winning ended United's run of goalless draws after failing to find the net against Crystal Palace and Manchester City in its last two domestic outings.
"Everybody knows ... that the most difficult way to score is against a very defensive team. The space is only at the wings and we have tried to do that," United manager Louis van Gaal said.
United was within a point of joint leaders Man City and Arsenal, but both teams could restore their four-point advantages with wins over Aston Villa and Tottenham respectively on Sunday.
Both sides labored in the first half, and the hosts took the lead minutes into the new half when Jesse Lingard curled in from the edge of the area, his first senior goal for United. After Anthony Martial's cross was headed clear, Lingard collected the ball before beating goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
"When I play, I try and ... get the fans off their feet, score goals, and make things happen," Lingard said.
Martial won United a penalty in second-half stoppage time. He raced onto Ander Herrera's throughball when he was felled by West Brom defender Gareth McAuley, who was shown a straight red card. Juan Mata converted the resulting spot kick.