LONDON: Rasmus Hojlund’s first Premier League goal secured a 3-2 win for Manchester United over Aston Villa after two-goal Alejandro Garnacho had inspired a comeback from two goals down at Old Trafford..

United manager Erik ten Hag said: “I think our fans they deserved it. They are always behind us and we’ve had so many setbacks I’m really pleased from the performance of this team. What kind of team can handle and deal with the amount of setbacks we have had?”

United, booed off at halftime, climbed to sixth in the standings on 31 points, while Villa, who lost for the first time in 11 games in all competitions, are third with 39, missing a chance to move even on points with league-leaders Liverpool.

Villa manager Unai Emery said: “The atmosphere pushed them. They have very good players.”

Hojlund finally ended his league goal drought after 1,027 minutes in the 82nd when a United corner bounced off John McGinn’s knee and fell to the Dane. The 20-year-old swiped it in off the post and a few minutes later left the game to a standing ovation.

He said: “It has been a while (waiting), but yes I am very happy. I am the happiest man alive right now. You can see from the celebrations as well. We believed in ourselves until the very end and got the win today.”

McGinn scored for Villa in the 21st minute from a long free kick that sailed past several players and into the bottom left corner. Leander Dendoncker doubled their lead five minutes later from close range when an unmarked Clement Lenglet headed a corner kick back across goal.

United appeared headed for their ninth defeat in 19 league games before Garnacho netted his first in the 59th minute with a fierce shot from the centre of the box. He equalised for the hosts in the 71st after a give-and-go with Bruno Fernandes before Hojlund scored the winner.

United, for whom British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe agreed to buy a 25pc stake on Christmas Eve, then delivered a remarkable second-half transformation.

Garnacho believed he had pulled one back for United minutes after halftime when Marcus Rashford delivered a pinpoint pass and he calmly went around goalkeeper Emi Martinez and slotted home, but VAR showed he was offside.

United continued to attack in waves, with seven shots on target to Villa’s four, and were finally rewarded in the final half hour.

Hojlund, who signed for United in August from Atalanta, had five goals in four Champions League games but the striker’s lack of league scoring had raised questions in recent weeks.