Harry Redknapp watched from the stands as Manchester United came from behind to beat his new Queens Park Rangers side at Old Trafford.
QPR, who announced Redknapp as their new boss on Saturday morning, led when Jamie Mackie pounced from close range.
Headers from Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher, on his first league start for over a year, put United in command.
"In the end a not-unexpected scoreline but for an hour Manchester United were off-key as QPR made a real go of it. But three goals in eight minutes turned the game around for Manchester United."
Substitute Javier Hernandez stroked in the third as Sir Alex Ferguson's men moved top of the Premier League table.
United's three goals in the space of eight second-half minutes puts the pressure firmly back on neighbours Manchester City, who know they can return to the summit by beating Chelsea on Sunday.
QPR, who sacked Redknapp's predecessor Mark Hughes on Friday, stay bottom of the table as they remain without a victory in their opening 13 matches.
But there will be plenty of positives for Redknapp to take from the match before he assumes control on Monday.
Under the guidance of Hughes's former coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki, the hard-working visitors refused to allow United any space and used their compact defensive unit as a base to catch their hosts on the break.
Scotland international Mackie was the focal point of QPR's counter-attacking raids and he thought he had put them ahead just before the interval when he sent a diving header past United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
But the goal was correctly ruled out for offside, with replays showing Mackie had strayed ahead of United central defenders Rio Ferdinand and Evans.
It was a laboured performance from the hosts in the opening hour, as Ferguson's side allowed their opponents to score first for the ninth time in 13 top-flight matches this season.
A shock looked to be on the cards as Mackie struck after Lindegaard could only parry Kieron Dyer's low cross into his path.
Manchester United's three goals within eight minutes is their fastest run of three goals in the Premier League since a six-minute streak in the 8-2 win against Arsenal in August 2011.
United had been rather pedestrian up to the goal and it served to wake them from their slumber as Ferguson urged his players to increase the tempo of their play.
Wayne Rooney, back in United's starting XI after missing the last two matches with tonsillitis, pushed further forward alongside Robin van Persie in a bid to stretch a QPR backline that had already conceded 23 goals this season.
And it was the England striker who provided the spark for United's recovery. His left-wing corner was met at the far post by Danny Welbeck, whose header allowed Evans, also making his return from injury, to score from virtually on the goal-line.
Moments later, Fletcher swung the match in United's favour - again from a Rooney corner.
The Scotland international, whose last Premier League appearance came on 19 November 2011 before he missed the rest of the season with a bowel complaint, found space in the QPR box to head in.
Hernandez sealed victory as he raced on to a throughball from fellow substitute Anderson, who played a pivotal role after coming on, before confidently slotting past Hoops goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
"We only played for 10 minutes and those 10 minutes were brilliant. The crowd got up and I thought Anderson changed the game for us.
"We expected an improved performance from QPR, it always happens when a side loses their manager. They fought very hard and had some good counter-attack play.
"Falling behind again is a concern but it was a wake up call. Then we got down to our business and played with speed and determination. Victories like this when you're not really at your best are always important.
"Darren Fletcher has had a long journey back and he has showed he is back to his best."
- 13 Lindegaard
- 02 Rafael
- 03 Evra
- 05 Ferdinand
- 06 Evans
- 18 Young (Anderson - 59' )
- 22 Scholes Booked (Hernandez - 59' )
- 24 Fletcher
- 10 Rooney
- 19 Welbeck (Powell - 79' )
- 20 Van Persie
- 01 De Gea
- 04 Jones
- 12 Smalling
- 08 Anderson
- 23 Cleverley
- 25 Powell
- 14 Hernandez
Queens Park Rangers
- 33 Julio Cesar
- 03 Traore (Ferdinand - 61' )
- 06 Hill
- 17 Nelsen
- 04 Derry
- 10 Taarabt (Hoilett - 73' )
- 18 Dyer
- 32 Faurlin (Granero - 84' )
- 40 M'bia Booked
- 09 Cisse
- 12 Mackie
- 01 Green
- 05 Ferdinand
- 02 Diakite
- 11 Wright-Phillips
- 14 Granero
- 22 Ephraim
- 23 Hoilett
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +3:36
Corner taken right-footed by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line, Clint Hill manages to make a clearance.90:00 +3:16
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Blocked by Clint Hill.90:00 +1:54
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Esteban Granero by Oliveira Anderson. Free kick taken by Esteban Granero.87:59
Corner taken by Esteban Granero, Robin van Persie makes a clearance.87:15
David Hoilett takes a shot. Blocked by Jonny Evans. Corner from the right by-line taken by Esteban Granero, Clint Hill takes a shot. Clearance by Rafael Da Silva.86:12
Jamie Mackie takes a shot. Blocked by Jonny Evans. Corner taken right-footed by Esteban Granero from the right by-line to the near post, Robin van Persie manages to make a clearance.83:01 Substitution
Substitution Esteban Granero comes on in place of Alejandro Faurlin.81:30
Wayne Rooney takes the inswinging corner, Djibril Cisse manages to make a clearance.80:55
Jamie Mackie is ruled offside. Direct free kick taken by Rafael Da Silva.79:02
The ball is crossed by Wayne Rooney, Soares Julio Cesar makes a save.78:05 Substitution
Substitution Nick Powell comes on in place of Danny Welbeck.78:05
Robin van Persie produces a right-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the right-hand post.77:01
Clint Hill concedes a free kick for a foul on Javier Hernandez. Rafael Da Silva takes the free kick.73:57
Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Nelsen.72:56
Danny Welbeck is caught offside. Anton Ferdinand takes the direct free kick.72:17 Substitution
Substitution David Hoilett on for Adel Taarabt.71:59
Assist by Oliveira Anderson.71:59 Goal scored
Goal! - Javier Hernandez - Man Utd 3 - 1 QPR Javier Hernandez fires in a goal from inside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 3-1 QPR.70:31
Foul by Djibril Cisse on Darren Fletcher, free kick awarded. Rio Ferdinand takes the direct free kick.
Adel Taarabt has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.67:51
The assist for the goal came from Wayne Rooney.67:51 Goal scored
Goal! - Darren Fletcher - Man Utd 2 - 1 QPR Darren Fletcher finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man Utd 2-1 QPR.67:37
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Wayne Rooney,67:23
The ball is sent over by Danny Welbeck.66:28
The ball is crossed by Rafael Da Silva, Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Soares Julio Cesar.65:08
Effort on goal by Darren Fletcher from long distance goes over the crossbar.64:46
Clint Hill concedes a free kick for a foul on Robin van Persie. Oliveira Anderson restarts play with the free kick.63:27
Assist by Danny Welbeck.63:27 Goal scored
Goal! - Jonny Evans - Man Utd 1 - 1 QPR Jonny Evans scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man Utd 1-1 QPR.63:10
Corner taken right-footed by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line,60:25
Corner taken by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, Soares Julio Cesar makes a save.60:01 Substitution
Substitution Anton Ferdinand on for Armand Traore.58:28
Free kick taken by Wayne Rooney.58:28 Booking
Booking Stephane Mbia goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.56:09
Robin van Persie takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post.54:50 Substitution
Substitution Javier Hernandez joins the action as a substitute, replacing Paul Scholes.54:50 Substitution
Substitution Oliveira Anderson comes on in place of Ashley Young.54:50
Shot comes in from Adel Taarabt from the free kick. Unfair challenge on Patrice Evra by Stephane Mbia results in a free kick.54:50 Booking
Booking Paul Scholes goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.53:56
Djibril Cisse takes a shot. Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Scholes on Kieron Dyer. Darren Fletcher gets a block in.53:06
Unfair challenge on Robin van Persie by Stephane Mbia results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Young.51:55
Assist by Kieron Dyer.51:55 Goal scored
Goal! - Jamie Mackie - Man Utd 0 - 1 QPR A goal is scored by Jamie Mackie from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 0-1 QPR.51:25
Corner taken by Kieron Dyer from the left by-line.50:57
Djibril Cisse takes a shot. Blocked by Rio Ferdinand.50:38
Ashley Young produces a cross, clearance by Clint Hill.46:21
Robin van Persie is ruled offside. Soares Julio Cesar takes the indirect free kick.45:01
The second half begins.45:00 +2:09 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +1:49
Adel Taarabt takes a shot. Save by Anders Lindegaard.42:26
The ball is sent over by Wayne Rooney.40:30
Effort on goal by Wayne Rooney from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.40:08
A cross is delivered by Robin van Persie, clearance by Ryan Nelsen.39:01
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Adel Taarabt played to the near post, Robin van Persie manages to make a clearance.37:42
Corner taken by Adel Taarabt from the left by-line to the near post, Robin van Persie makes a clearance.36:17
Jamie Mackie is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Direct free kick taken by Anders Lindegaard.35:56
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Soares Julio Cesar makes a save.35:10
The ball is swung over by Armand Traore, save by Anders Lindegaard.33:32
Robin van Persie takes a inswinging corner to the near post.33:16
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save made by Soares Julio Cesar.32:57
Patrice Evra takes a shot. Save by Soares Julio Cesar.30:21
Adel Taarabt concedes a free kick for a foul on Rafael Da Silva. Direct free kick taken by Robin van Persie.29:41
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Alejandro Faurlin. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.26:00
Ashley Young produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the target.24:24
Foul by Danny Welbeck on Ryan Nelsen, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Soares Julio Cesar. Robin van Persie fouled by Clint Hill, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Scholes restarts play with the free kick.23:59
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robin van Persie.23:46
The ball is sent over by Patrice Evra, Clint Hill makes a clearance.23:27
Wayne Rooney fouled by Clint Hill, the ref awards a free kick. Darren Fletcher restarts play with the free kick.20:28
Adel Taarabt takes a shot. Anders Lindegaard makes a save.19:14
Close range effort by Robin van Persie goes wide of the left-hand post.17:43
Inswinging corner taken by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, Armand Traore manages to make a clearance.15:19
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Blocked by Clint Hill.10:18
Unfair challenge on Alejandro Faurlin by Paul Scholes results in a free kick. Soares Julio Cesar takes the free kick.6:01
Corner taken right-footed by Adel Taarabt from the left by-line to the near post, Robin van Persie manages to make a clearance.4:56
Patrice Evra crosses the ball, clearance made by Jamie Mackie.2:59
Rio Ferdinand fouled by Jamie Mackie, the ref awards a free kick. Darren Fletcher takes the direct free kick.2:20
Paul Scholes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephane Mbia. Stephane Mbia takes the free kick.1:16
Adel Taarabt fouled by Paul Scholes, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kieron Dyer.0:00
The referee gets the game underway.
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