(BBC Sport) – Antony scored one and assisted another as Manchester United moved up to third in the Premier League table with a clinical win over Nottingham Forest who missed out on a chance to move out of the relegation zone.
The visitors deservedly went in front in the 32nd minute as Antony stabbed home after Forest keeper Keylor Navas had kept out Anthony Martial.
And Antony played through Diogo Dalot who slotted in United’s second with 14 minutes remaining.
The win puts United three points clear of fourth-placed Newcastle United and six points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in fifth, who have played a game more than the Red Devils.
Forest, who could have gone three points clear of the drop with a win, stay 17th, inside the bottom three on goal difference.
Eriksen inspires free-flowing United
Antony starred, but it was Christian Eriksen who was the true lynchpin for United.
The Denmark midfielder started his first match since picking up an ankle injury in January, replacing Marcel Sabitzer who sustained a groin injury in the warm-up.
And alongside Bruno Fernandes, Eriksen helped United dominate the first half with Jadon Sancho and Fernandes having early chances.
After Antony’s opener only an inspired performance from Navas and some wasteful finishing kept Forest in the fixture.
Fernandes saw his free header sail just wide on the strike of half-time and the Portuguese midfielder had a curling effort tipped on to the post by Navas after the restart.
United’s win, settled by Dalot’s first Premier League goal, was the perfect response to their disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla last time out.
They face Sevilla in the second leg of that Europa League quarter-final on Thursday before taking on Brighton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday.
Forest sliding towards relegation
Forest are now winless across their past 10 Premier League matches.
They were 13th after their last victory when they beat Leeds United 1-0 on 5 February.
They had chances in the first half with Taiwo Awoniyi seeing one effort blocked by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and another fly off target from a strong position.
Forest also had a penalty shout in the 19th minute when an in-swinging corner struck the arm of United defender Harry Maguire, but the video assistant referee chose not to overturn referee Simon Hooper’s non-penalty decision.
With United 1-0 in front, Felipe headed over from a corner in the 73rd minute, but in truth Forest always looked second best in front of their home supporters.
They face Liverpool in their next match on Saturday where they will be desperately hoping to end their winless run.