Wayne Rooney ended his goal drought in emphatic style as United's second half salvo saw them storm past Club Brugge and into tomorrow's group stage draw.
Rooney had not scored for 10 games but put that statistic to bed when he put United ahead with the first clear cut opening with 20 minutes played.
A brilliantly disguised reverse ball from the eye-catching Memphis played in the skipper, who certainly did not seem short on confidence as he cleverly dinked home over Brugge keeper Sinan Bolat.
Memphis squandered a good chance to put the Reds 2-0 ahead at the break, but to their credit the hosts rallied and went close thrice in quick succession shortly before the interval.
Tom de Sutter first lacked the pace to make the most of a route to a goal, Daley Blind almost turned a tentative header into his own net and then Davy De Fauw glanced an effort narrowly wide from the resultant corner.
Spurred on by those near misses, Brugge saw an even better opportunity go begging on 43 minutes when Abdoulay Diaby beat the offside trap and found himself clean through, but Sergio Romero snuffed out the chance and smothered.
That was as good as it got for the hosts, and United doubled their lead shortly after the resumption with a beautifully well-worked goal.
The Reds carved Brugge wide open as Memphis picked out Ander Herrera who in turn unselfishly squared the ball back to Rooney who opened out his body and slotted past Bolat into the corner.
Eight minutes later, it was three for the Reds and for Rooney who completed his hat-trick when he latched on to Juan Mata's lovely through ball and slipped home a finish.
By this time Brugge had disintegrated and Herrera took full advantage when he ran through and slotted home a simple strike under little pressure to make it 4-0.
Substitute Chicharito missed a penalty and then blazed over whilst injury-hit Brugge struck the bar through Hans Vanaken, but the tie was long won and United sealed their return to the European elite after a season's absence.
Back where we belong!
United Faithful Man of the Match: An excellent all round team performance. Juan Mata was classy and consistent in attack, but the hat-trick hero Rooney gets it for his impressive, all action performance.
Overall team performance: 8/10
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