Manchester United continued their quest for securing UEFA Champions League football for next season by beating West Ham United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League.

The Red Devils have lost just 1 of their last 23 league games having won 14 and drawn 8. The 20-time league champions returned to 2nd place in the league to stay 1 point ahead of Leicester City as we approach the final stretch of the season in what may be a hot race for securing participation in Europe’s elite competition for next season.

Manchester United were the better team for most of the game and deserved all 3 points but it was a hard-fought victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Marcus Rashford missed a golden opportunity to give his side the lead as Mason Greenwood picked him out from the right flank with a perfect left-footed cross that Rashford made a mess of as he headed wide after being unmarked at the far post.

United came close to scoring after that as well with Mason Greenwood who curled a left-footed shot that was destined for the bottom corner, only to be somehow tipped by West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski onto the post and out.

Greenwood’s barren run continues, which is unfortunate as the England youngster has been playing some terrific football over the last month or so.

It seemed like it was going to be one of those frustrating games for the home side as the half ended 0-0 and given the recent run of form and 0-0 results, United fans must have been worried.

It only took the Red Devils 8 minutes, however, going into the 2nd half to take the lead as an inviting corner kick from Bruno Fernandes into the 6-yard box at the near post was touched on by Scott McTominay and then headed in by West Ham’s Craig Dawson himself for an own goal.

The Hammers then started taking the game to United in search for an equaliser but United continued their good discipline as they made it 4 consecutive clean sheets in the league.

United had more chances to bury the game as Bruno Fernandes was denied by another superb save by Polish keeper Fabianski. Greenwood and Rashford attacked West Ham on the counter and somehow, Greenwood smashed the post with his left footed shot and failed to score.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes was instrumental in United’s win once again. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Solskjaer’s side will be happy with the 3 points regardless of how they came as they prepare for 2 massive games – AC Milan in the 2nd leg of the Europa League Round of 16 followed by Leicester City in the FA Cup quarterfinals.

The Manchester United boss’ side has been hit by injuries with several key players out including Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek.

Ole will be hoping to have some of these big names back for these crucial fixtures.

United made the semifinals of all competitions last season and failed to go beyond that. They will be looking to at least go one better this season as they are still in contention for the FA Cup and a European trophy.

The Red Devils were earlier knocked out by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semifinals.

Solskjaer  spoke about the league result after the game, “As expected, they are always going to make it hard for you. We could have been more comfortable towards the end as we had a few decent chances to finish it off – we like to make it hard for ourselves.

“We created massive opportunities but the final pass or shot wasn’t good enough. It could have been two or three easily – but then it could have ended up in our net at the end as they are a threat.

“We know West Ham are challenging to get in the top four so it was a big result and we kept a clean sheet again.”

West Ham boss Moyes still awaits a win against Manchester United at Old Trafford as his team dropped 3 points in their potential quest for a place in the top 4. He went on to say, “I’m disappointed we lost. Parts of the game we played OK and parts we didn’t. The way we set up maybe didn’t quite work. Our breaks were really poor tonight.”

The Hammers have a massive game on Sunday against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal at the London Stadium. A win for West ham will take them level on points with 4th-placed Chelsea but they will stay 5th on goal difference. A win for Arsenal would mean that the Gunners will then be within 4 points of West Ham.