Manchester United waltzed past Shrewsbury Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup, winning 3-0 at Greenhous Meadow on Monday.
First-half goals from Chris Smalling and Juan Mata gave United a convincing advantage at half-time, and Jesse Lingard's smart finish killed the contest on the hour mark.
The Red Devils dominated the first half as they retained possession and drove forward, but Shrewsbury struggled to stamp their mark on the tie despite a more spirited second half.
Goalkeeper David De Gea was ruled out after being injured in the warm-up against FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League, as Sergio Romero once again deputised for the visitors. Guillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson were both reinstalled at full-back after missing the match against the Danish champions.
United manager Louis van Gaal was under severe pressure before the cup game after a dismal run of form from his team, and BBC Sport captured his arrival on social media:
BBC Sport @BBCSport
LVG has arrived... https://t.co/ao7LGHqo0k Follow all the build-up here: https://t.co/362Sk20Ipy2016-2-22 19:22:26
The Shrews looked impotent in the first half, as the Old Trafford giants dominated without an overt threat.
United were permanently camped in the opposition final third, but there was a lack of killer instinct from the forward line.
However, Mata and Ander Herrera gave more mobile performances than in recent weeks, when the Spanish midfielders have flattered to deceive.
TalkSport's Stan Collymore felt the hosts paid too much respect to their illustrious opponents:
Stan Collymore @StanCollymore
Shrewsbury way too deep, just had 9 outfield players in own box in open play. Need to test #MUFC resolve higher up. @talkSPORT ON AIR LIVE2016-2-22 20:02:21
Bleacher Report UK was not impressed with the first half-hour of football:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
Manchester United highlights so far: —Ed Woodward’s questionable scarf *end of transmission* https://t.co/X9LsS0hZCa2016-2-22 20:21:54
United finally took the lead nine minutes before the break, as Smalling relieved the pressure with an unlikely strike.
Morgan Schneiderlin won the ball in the air from a hopeful chip forward, and his header fell to the feet of Smalling in the penalty area.
The centre-back put his foot through the ball and found the far corner of the net as the ball deflected past 'keeper Jayson Leutwiler.
BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker quipped as Van Gaal's side scored:
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
Big shock on the cards at Shrewsbury as Manchester United take the lead.2016-2-22 20:23:19
United eased their manager's nerves further in stoppage time at the end of the first half, as Mata curled home a free-kick beyond Leutwiler.
The visitors appeared to have three players offside as Mata's effort hit the net, but the officials allowed the goal to stand as they adjudged the Red Devils men to not be affecting play.
WhoScored.com highlighted United's statistical dominance at half-time and provided player ratings:
Shrewsbury 0-2 Manchester United HT: Shots(OT) 0(0) - 15(4), Possession 21% - 79%, Rating 6.01 - 7.03 https://t.co/j2cSxiJVag #FACup2016-2-22 20:38:04
Shrewsbury 0-2 Manchester United HT: Player Ratings #FACup https://t.co/WIlhh3ge8l2016-2-22 20:38:30
United looked fresh and re-energised at the start of the second half, clearly enthused by their goals after a sustained period of attacking.
However, the Shrews also appeared motivated to haul themselves back into the match as the game was stretched.
The pace of the tie was more vital as both teams attacked, and United constantly threatened to score a third.
Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay began to isolate their markers and regularly find space in the channels.
United booked their place in the next round with a sweeping break on the hour mark, as Mata and Herrera combined to feed in Lingard.
The attacker took his shot on the half-volley and put the game to bed.
The goal was shared on Twitter:
Counter attack football from #United and Lingard slots it home to make it 3-0 #FaCup https://t.co/560Wo88tfT2016-2-22 21:06:29
Relief poured forth from the travelling fans, who had been in fine voice during the contest, and Van Gaal managed a smile from his seat on the bench as supporters sang, "We'll support you ever more."
Shrewsbury pushed forward in the final 10 minutes as United were reduced to 10 men after an injury forced off third substitute Will Keane only minutes after he came on.
The visitors comfortably made it to full-time with the game done and dusted, giving the United fans a satisfying night after a disappointing run of results.
United looked business-like on Monday night after an abject performance in Denmark, and they can now focus on their Europa League second-leg match on Thursday with a professional win under their belt.
Van Gaal was content with the result at the end of the match, and he explained the controversial free-kick routine that saw Mata score United's second, per BT Sport Football:
BT Sport Football @btsportfootball
Louis van Gaal says @ManUtd's free-kick routine for @juanmata8's goal was inspired by Midtjylland. #EmiratesFACup https://t.co/EG7771PPcn2016-2-22 22:19:41
United advance to the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup and will host West Ham United at Old Trafford.