Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was reluctant to make a half-time substitution in midweek and if the five-subs rule was available in the Premier League Manchester United might have made five changes at half-time in London.

United, playing in front of supporters for the first time in 272 days, were cowed by the London Stadium crowd that would only fill a fifth of Rochdale's ground. The first-half ended with the West Ham captain Declan Rice depriving Paul Pogba of the ball and leaving him face down in the turf, applause ringing in Pogba's ears from cackling Cockneys.

Yet to take the lead against United on your own patch is an ominous harbinger in pandemic-era football. United have conceded first in all five away league fixtures this season and have recovered to win them all, scoring at least three in each triumph, this one ending to the soundtrack of expletives from narked West Ham fans. United are back in the top four.

As wrong as Solskjaer got it in the first-half he got it right in the second. Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, introduced at the interval, sparked United into life and West Ham, spent from their excursions in the first hour, wilted spectacularly. Juan Mata, the other arrival, played Rashford through for his impudent clincher and a slog ended a stroll.

United were rudderless without Fernandes, balletic on the ball and b--------g teammates off it. Half of the front six from the Paris Saint-Germain tie were absent in the first-half and United were disjointed until Fernandes jolted the timid Pogba, setting up the Frenchman to classily claim his first league goal of the campaign.

Scott McTominay attempted to match Rice but was all steel and no silk and West Ham had the sorcery of Jarrod Bowen to seize on United's lethargy. Solskjaer was culpable for setting that tone with his four changes, the number not as much of a problem as the personnel.

Fernandes' 23-match run of successive Premier League starts ended and Donny van de Beek was unfortunate to make way for him. Solskjaer was just as decisive in sending Edinson Cavani on at Southampton last week as he was in removing him for the speedier Rashford to stretch West Ham. Both decisions were emphatically vindicated.

The defeat to PSG had forced Solskjaer's hand with RB Leipzig looming on Tuesday yet he treated West Ham - five places above United at kick-off - with a complacency that bordered on the disrespectful. United were not up for it and West Ham were, playing up to the crowd that greeted them with a chorus of I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles for the first time since February 29 in a committed first-half.

Solskjaer's alterations were not completely flawless; he moved Anthony Martial to the tip of the arrow in place of archer enthusiast Cavani even though the Frenchman is without a league goal since July 16. Mason Greenwood's smart swivel and shot was blocked by the forlorn Martial and he was belatedly removed 16 minutes after the restart.

Martial will have heard the East End cat calls as he trudged around the pitch at a glacial pace that was roughly the speed at which he moved during his 61 minutes on the pitch. Martial came off and the plan came off. United immediately thrived and were ahead within seven minutes of his removal, Greenwood finishing fabulously past Lukasz Fabianski on the turn without Martial in the way.

Resting too many undroppables was bound to have repercussions and United were just as inept in defending a corner at the near post with a different 'keeper between the sticks. Richard Hartis, the goalkeeping coach responsible for organising the defence at set-pieces, was later than the White Rabbit in appearing inside the technical area after Tomas Soucek had steered in Rice's flick-on.

Dean Henderson still managed to make himself heard to those so distant in the stands they came under a different postcode. The 23-year-old was promised a start before the loss to PSG after his surprising exclusion from the XI against Istanbul Basaksehir last week and made laudable saves in each half.

Solskjaer has repeatedly stressed it is not his job to 'keep players happy' when that is part of management in any field. Henderson needs playing time with the winter window about to creak open and his manager needs to keep him onside, if only to avoid the embarrassment of calling Sergio Romero, omitted from the Premier League and Champions League squads, in from the cold to offset the potential departure of Henderson on loan.

Henderson stood up imposingly to repel Pablo Fornals inside the first five minutes and an Aaron Cresswell free-kick. Henderson was so voluble he was practically challenging the home supporters to a Battle of the Fans but Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles were fazed, the latter left with twisted blood by the quicksilver Bowen and Wan-Bissaka forced to atone for some dithering defending just before the pause.

United then got it right after getting it so wrong.