Mason Greenwood’s late strike earned Manchester United a 1-0 win over Wolves at Molineux in a game marked by David de Gea’s stunning double save.
The build-up to Greenwood’s goal was not without controversy as Paul Pogba appeared to catch Ruben Neves only for Mike Dean to ignore the appeals of the midfielder.
United, who included Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho in the starting line-up for the first time, also had De Gea to thank for the victory after his extraordinary efforts to twice keep out Romain Saiss.
Wolves will rue their finishing as they remain without a point under new boss Bruno Lage but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side now find themselves third – with Cristiano Ronaldo on the way.
Wolves kicked off the game with real intensity, Adama Traore causing plenty of problems for the Manchester United defence with his trademark direct running.
Firstly, he skipped beyond Pogba and Fred in midfield and calmly set up Raul Jimenez in the right channel, but the striker’s tame shot was saved by the feet of David de Gea.
Then, it was Ruben Neves’ turn to break on United, putting young Francisco Trincao clear, only for his shot to be blocked brilliantly near the line by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
As supporters traded insults amid a boisterous atmosphere, a neat touch by Sancho presented a chance for Mason Greenwood in the left channel, but his fierce shot flashed just wide.
The Wolves supporters applauded their team off the pitch, but must have been fearing this was more of the same, having played well without scoring in their previous two games.
Wolves were unhappy with a decision in the build-up, as Neves and Pogba contested the ball. The Manchester United man seemed to catch his opponent, only for play to go on.
Greenwood took full advantage, ramming home with his right foot from a narrow angle, and while Neves protested vociferously, displaying the mark from the clash, the goal stood.
That seemed to affect Wolves badly, and they were unable to build up any momentum in the closing stages. With Ronaldo’s arrival imminent, United’s moment might just be starting.
There is an international break for these teams before Wolves return to action against newly-promoted Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday, September 11.
Manchester United play that day too, hosting Newcastle United at Old Trafford in what could well mark Cristiano Ronaldo’s comeback appearance for the club.