For photos from the match, scroll to ‘Photostream’ above left, while click on the statistics tab for the match stats. Manager reaction to follow
Harry Redknapp left Old Trafford with plenty to ponder as Manchester United roared back to win 3-1 and condemn Queens Park Rangers to the worst Barclays Premier League start any side has made after 13 games.
QPR remain rooted to the foot of the table despite taking a second-half lead through Jamie Mackie. Any hope Redknapp might have had of his new charges marking his installation as manager today by recording their first win of the season evaporated with three United goals in a nine-minute burst.
Jonny Evans grabbed the first to pull the hosts level before Darren Fletcher found the perfect way to mark his first Premier League start in a year. Javier Hernandez bagged another to confirm United’s status as leaders ahead of Manchester City’s visit to Chelsea on Sunday.
Redknapp had seen enough, leaving four minutes from the end to contemplate what he has admitted represents the biggest challenge of his managerial career. By half-time, Redknapp would have at least been able to content himself that he had something to work with.
Rangers had a sense of purpose and stuck to their defensive duties with diligence. Stand-in manager Mark Bowen might even have had a goal to celebrate after Mackie converted an excellent cross from Djibril Cisse, only for the effort to be ruled out by a tight offside call going against him.
Danny Welbeck produced cut-backs from either flank for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney but neither striker could hit the target and Ashley Young also sliced the ball into the side-netting.
After the break QPR took a shock lead. United failed to read a short corner and did not prevent Kieron Dyer getting down the byline. Anders Lindegaard was only able to shove Dyer’s low cross to Mackie, who finished it off. Within minutes, Adel Taarabt had curled a free-kick narrowly over.
Sir Alex Ferguson took immediate action, hauling off Paul Scholes and Ashley Young in favour of Anderson and Hernandez. The change took a little while to have any effect but, eventually, United brought themselves level.
Evans was on hand to turn home Welbeck’s header from Rooney’s corner for his third goal of the season. If that goal was well received, the one Fletcher got to put the hosts ahead from another Rooney corner triggered an emotional reaction from the Scot.
It was his first Barclays Premier League goal since the 6-1 defeat by Manchester City 13 months ago, most of the intervening period he spent battling against a chronic bowel complaint that threatened his career.
Hernandez was soon tucking home his ninth of the season to ease the nerves of the home fans. Clint Hill had a header cleared off the line by Rafael before the end, although by then, Redknapp had gone anyway.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson [to MUTV]: “Anderson changed the game. We played for about 10 or 15 minutes, that was the sum total of a real performance for Manchester United. Queens Park Rangers had a surge of determination and belief, they worked really hard and that's what you expect when a team loses its manager. We saw that again today.
"Of course it is frustrating [to keep conceding first] and you have to be concerned about it. The one thing about it is their goal sparked us off. From that moment on, we really got at them and played with great determination and speed and it made a difference."
"They all want to play. We've got a great squad of players. Anderson played his part today. He didn't let us down, he was terrific.
"Jonny Evans is capable of doing that but it's only this season that he's emerged as a goalscoring centre-back. We've had a few in the past - Vida [Nemanja Vidic] and Steve Bruce way back. It's nice to get a defender who can weigh in with a few goals.
"Everyone is delighted [for Fletcher]. It has been a long road back for him. It is the first time he has played twice in one week. He didn't let us down again. He never does. It is lovely to have him back like that. We will look at Wednesday but he has made a great contribution today."
Caretaker QPR manager Mark Bowen: "I would tell the fans, 'Don't lose faith.' The quality is there but everything is conspiring against us at the moment. It's individual errors which are costing us rather than team errors.
“We showed good qualities. We possibly ran out of a bit of steam. The quality that Man United have shone through in the end. They were two bad goals to concede from corners, but until then we showed good quality as a team.
"For this game, I brought in players who knew what was expected at Old Trafford. Shaun Derry can organise and pull people around. We’ve got to be compact which we did for long periods of the game. We used Stephane Mbia as a right-back and he is a top, top player, when he gets used to this league. The team felt comfortable but that which has haunted all season, defending from corners, came back.”
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|09 Dec 2012||v Man City (A)|
|15 Dec 2012||v Sunderland (H)|
|23 Dec 2012||v Swansea (A)|
|26 Dec 2012||v Newcastle (H)|