Manchester United made a winning start to life under interim boss Ralf Rangnick thanks to Fred’s 77th-minute winner.

Having watched Thursday’s 3-2 triumph against Arsenal from the stands, the 63-year-old interim manager was on the Old Trafford touchline for the first time when Patrick Vieira’s men came to town.

A more energetic United display looked like going unrewarded against a dogged Crystal Palace outfit until Fred struck first-time from Mason Greenwood’s lay-off to send a superb 20-yard effort curling over Vicente Guaita and into the top corner.

It was only Fred’s second goal of the season – and the first time since the middle of September that United have recorded back-to-back league wins.

The hosts began with impressive intensity and energy under their new boss, with Cristiano Ronaldo having a host of chances before their performance began to drift against hard-working Palace.

Alex Telles saw a free-kick skim the bar and Jordan Ayew went agonisingly close at the other end as United began to slip into familiar ways, only for Fred to produce a moment of magic to seal three points.

Rangnick stood in the technical area for the majority of his first match in charge. The German kept with the side that beat Arsenal but favoured a 4-2-2-2 formation as players pressed with more regularity and effectiveness.

James Tomkins blocked a goalbound Fred drive as sustained pressure continued.

Guaita stretched to tip away a low Fernandes effort, before Palace survived some penalty box pinball and a deflected Jadon Sancho effort looped just over.

But a break in play for treatment after Nathaniel Clyne’s foul on Fred allowed Palace to gather their thoughts and gain more control.

Ayew’s hopeful curling effort skipped just wide as the Eagles frustrated a United side that had settled into old patterns towards the end of the first half.

However, they had a big change in stoppage time as dogged play and good link up with Scott McTominay ended with Diogo Dalot flashing just across the face of goal.

It was an encouraging first half followed by a more cumbersome second period by United.

Cheikhou Kouyate saw a header blocked from a threatening set-piece from Conor Gallagher, who helped close down Marcus Rashford as the forward shaped to shoot.

Mason Greenwood replaced Sancho in a bid to inject new life into a performance that had become flat and somewhat sloppy.

An audacious free-kick nearly provided a 68th-minute opener. Guehi was booked for bringing down Rashford and Telles clipped the top of the crossbar from the resulting set-piece, which he hit well from an acute angle.

Greenwood swiped wide and Rangnick turned to Anthony Elanga to aid a performance that was now a far cry from the start of proceedings, with Palace going agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 75th minute.

Tomkins headed a fine corner to the far post, where Ayew could only direct across the face of goal from an acute angle.

It was a let-off punished in style three minutes later as Greenwood laid back to Fred, who curled a superb 20-yard effort beyond Guaita in front of the Stretford End.

The goal was met with a mixture of relief and joy by the Old Trafford faithful, who soon sung former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s name as well as that of ex-caretaker boss Michael Carrick.

Harry Maguire had to be bandaged up after a clash of heads and De Gea had to tip a threatening cross behind as Rangnick started his reign with victory.

The victory meant that Rangnick emulated three of United’s other four new managers since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 by winning his first match at the helm, with Louis van Gaal the only man to fail.

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