A new-look Manchester United recorded their first competitive win under Louis van Gaal with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers.
Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind were handed starting berths by Van Gaal, while Radamel Falcao, who moved to Old Trafford on a season-long loan from Monaco on transfer deadline day, also made his debut as a second-half substitute. However, the show was stolen by another new recruit as Angel di Maria delivered a wonderful display on his maiden home outing for United.
Di Maria opened the scoring with his first goal in a United shirt midway through the opening half before playing a part as Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney made the points safe before half-time.
Rooney's strike made him the joint-third top-scorer in Barclays Premier League history with 175 goals, and United, using a back four for the first time in the league this season, pulled further clear when Di Maria set up Juan Mata for a fourth after 58 minutes.
Falcao's arrival in the 67th minute did not prompt the final flurry that United fans hoped, but there is likely to be a renewed optimism that the club can improve upon last season's seventh-place finish.
United made a fast start to proceedings and threatened in the seventh minute when Mata shot well over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
QPR, with Sandro and Niko Kranjcar in their team for the first time since their deadline-day moves, appeared to have weathered the storm as some of the early intensity vanished from United's play, but in the 24th minute Van Gaal's men found the breakthrough their dominance of possession merited.
Clint Hill was penalised for a foul on Herrera and visiting goalkeeper Robert Green was beaten as an inswinging free-kick from Di Maria 40 yards out evaded everyone and bounced into the far corner.
United had clear control of the encounter but Harry Redknapp's side were almost gifted an equaliser in the 31st minute by David de Gea. The United goalkeeper rushed off his line in an attempt to clear a long ball forward and was grateful for a diving block from Jonny Evans that prevented Matt Phillips from scoring.
QPR went further behind 10 minutes before half-time when former Athletic Bilbao man Herrera drove a low strike beyond the despairing Green to double United's lead. Di Maria was heavily involved in the goal, surging down the left before slipping a neat pass into Rooney, who laid the ball off for Herrera to open his account after the England striker had seen his initial shot blocked.
Rooney got another in the 44th minute, rounding off a neat move involving Herrera and Mata with a powerful finish.
Redknapp threw on Armand Traore for Hill at half-time and the move almost paid instant dividends as the substitute pulled the ball back for Kranjcar to bring a fine save from De Gea’s foot.
Yet QPR could not prevent United adding further gloss to a superb display. A cross-shot from Di Maria cut out three players and left Mata with the simple task of firing high into the net from close range.
Falcao was brought on to rapturous applause from the home supporters, yet it was one of QPR's debutants that almost cut the deficit, striker Eduardo Vargas firing narrowly wide after being played through down the right.
A glittering showing from Di Maria came to an end as he was withdrawn with an apparent case of cramp before the Old Trafford crowd were denied a fitting end to an encouraging afternoon when Falcao was thwarted by Green, who also saved from replacement Adnan Januzaj in the 90th minute.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: “When you have a result of 4-0 then you can be happy as a coach but you always have points you can improve. I am very happy because of the result and the way we have played. We were very dominant and scored goals and kept a clean sheet.
"In ball possession we have lost the ball too much previously. We were more direct and that I like. Also, we have created a lot of chances, although we didn't score enough of them. We have always to analyse what we have done. The result is fantastic but we can get much better. This is a good start."
QPR manager Harry Redknapp: "A few minutes before half-time we were 1-0 down and still bang in the game. To come in at 3-0 down, when our ‘keeper has not had a shot to save...
“If you have ever played in a team 3-0 down at half-time it is very difficult. You have to make sure you don't get beat by six or seven. [It was] a difficult day, I expected it and we got one.
"Leroy Fer is not fit, Sandro got a bit of cramp where he's not played many games. [But] I still feel confident we will be OK."
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|14 Dec 2014||v Liverpool (H)|
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|21 Sep 2014||v Leicester (A)|
|26 Oct 2014||v Chelsea (H)|