Manchester United claimed a rare comfortable win as they ran out 3-0 winners against West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
A first-half headed goal from Phil Jones, his first in over two years, and second-half goals from Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck confirmed the three points and saw the Red Devils move up to sixth in the Premier League table.
A poor afternoon for Pepe Mel and his side leave the Baggies in 17th position and in danger of being relegated to the Championship should their form not turn around.
With no win in their last eight league matches, Mel's position as manager was already being questioned before the loss to United.
Pepe Mel's future at West Brom in doubt after close ally Dave McDonough leaves club. http://t.co/0a2rIfFeZ4— Irish Daily Mirror (@IrishMirror) February 27, 2014
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Mel acknowledged that any decision on his future is out of his hands:
I don't know that (if I will be replaced), it doesn't depend on me
I'm very pleased with the performance of the players and very proud of the performance. They played in adverse conditions from the start.
The next four games are very, very important for the club, starting with Swansea, and now we have to recuperate the team.
David Moyes' side endured a slightly shaky start to the match and they did not carve out a decent opportunity until Rafael forced a strong save from Ben Foster after half an hour.
Jones then headed United into the lead after 34 minutes, driving home Robin van Persie's free-kick and giving Foster absolutely no chance.
Chances for Jonas Olsson and Victor Anichebe at the other end gave United a scare, but the Premier League champions reached half-time with a narrow 1-0 advantage.
Van Persie was quite fortunate to avoid a red card in the second half as he looked to have made two bad fouls in quick succession and was substituted for Welbeck after an hour.
With United looking ever more comfortable, Rooney effectively secured all three points finishing off a terrific move involving Juan Mata and Rafael.
1 - Wayne Rooney is the first player in @premierleague history to record double figures for both goals & assists in five seasons. Icon.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 8, 2014
Another slick United move and a smart finish from Welbeck put the game to bed in the 82nd minute.
Speaking to the BBC, Moyes praised his side's performance:
It was more like it. We were more creative and played well. It's never the easiest of places to come and we had lost to them earlier in the season so it was good to get a good result.
We earned the right to be in front. When we did, we sort of controlled chunks of the game.
I think the [Van Persie] tackle is a foul but not a second booking. If it is, we are all going soft.
Confident displays from Manchester United have been a rarity this season. But this performance will give Moyes confidence that his side can finish the season strongly.
It was their first outing since a shocking 2-0 loss to Olympiacos in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.
Will West Brom be relegated?
If United can keep up this level of performance, they may be able to overturn that two-goal deficit when the Greek champions travel to Old Trafford on 19th March.
They will face Liverpool in the league next weekend in Manchester and Brendan Rodgers' side will pose a much more difficult task than West Brom.
Mel's side will need to pick up significant points in their upcoming league fixtures against Swansea, Hull and Cardiff if they wish to escape being dragged into the relegation battle.