Reading, second bottom in the Championship and without a win in 11, battled well and troubled a flat-looking United at times and fashioned numerous chances that should have been put away.
And the mood appeared to be good as midfielder Ander Herrera shared a picture of himself at a restaurant alongside fellow Spaniards Juan Mata, David de Gea and goalkeeping coach Emilio Alvarez, plus Ivorian centre back Eric Bailly.
The Belgian striker attributed much of his success to caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's understanding of his strengths and how he's deployed him in the right vein - something which felt at a shot at Jose Mourinho's insistence at using Lukaku as a target man who plays with his back to goal.
The 2-0 victory against Reading secured Solskjaer's place in the United history books, yet it was their most unconvincing display to date.
"Tottenham have performed fantastically this season and they've got a great way of playing".
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I thought we deserved the scoreline. " We picked ourselves up in training and today you saw we played with confidence ". A somewhat relieved Emery said after the final whistle: "We wanted to win and this result will give confidence.
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"Some players like Matteo [Darmian] played out of position but I thought he was excellent.
That's two in two he's made, so that's also a positive", said Solskjaer, referring to Sanchez's assist in the 2-0 league win at Newcastle on Wednesday. It far from a ideal performance and he will be annoyed to have only scored one goal, but his ability to take one of the two good chances he had was ultimately the difference between the two side.
"I hope it's not going to be too bad - it's the same hamstring that he's been having trouble with but we'll see".
"VAR, VAR, VAR" chanted United fans playfully when Andy Yiadom handled a Sanchez cross soon after, with Lukaku seeing an effort denied after bursting through as the home side looked to extend their advantage.
The 24-year-old didn't put a foot wrong in a tough away game at a hard venue and was one of the key reasons that the team emerged from that match with three points. We're always good towards the end of the season anyway'.