Defender Victor Lindelof scored in the second half as struggling Manchester United breathed a collective sigh of relief with a 1-0 victory over Luton Town in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Erik ten Hag’s team, who have won two successive league games after stumbling to their worst start since 1962, provisionally climbed two spots to sixth in the table on 21 points after 12 games.

Luton, who have just one league victory in their debut season in the top flight, are 17th.

United created numerous chances as they dominated the game before Lindelof broke the deadlock in the 59th minute, the Swede smashing home from 16 yards after Luton failed to clear Marcus Rashford’s cross.

“I don’t score many goals and when I do it is fun,” Lindelof, who had not scored for United since late 2020, told Premier League Productions.

“The most important thing was getting the points and thankfully we got that today.”

Victory in Ten Hag’s 50th game as United boss was a welcome boost for a team who have lost nine of their last 18 games in all competitions, have been eliminated from the League Cup and are struggling in the Champions League after a 4-3 loss at Copenhagen on Wednesday.

“I thought we played well in the first half today. We kept the ball and we were patient,” Lindelof said. “We created chances as well. After we scored we dropped down a little bit in level and that is what we need to improve – to keep controlling the game.

“It is about getting the results. We need to stick together and do our thing. Hopefully, we can play better in the future as well.”

United enjoyed 64.4% of possession on the day and Rasmus Hojlund, who scored twice against Copenhagen, nearly grabbed an early goal but the 20-year-old’s effort off his knee from Rashford’s deflected cross struck hit Thomas Kaminski from close range.

Hojlund had another great chance early in the second half but his header from Bruno Fernandes’s cross sailed just wide.

Luton, promoted to the Premier League this season having climbed from non-league football a decade ago, could have snatched a draw but left empty-handed and face a long battle to retain their top-flight status.