(CNN) -- If Manchester United rallies to win the English Premier League, it might look back at Thursday's Boxing Day clash at Hull as a turning point.
United trailed 2-0 within 13 minutes against a side that had lost only one home game in the league all season but Wayne Rooney inspired a comeback and the Red Devils prevailed 3-2 for a fifth straight victory in all competitions.
Rooney set up Chris Smalling, scored a stunner to make it 2-2 in the first half and was on hand to pressure James Chester as the defender headed the own goal winner in the second half.
Chester -- briefly a United player -- had opened the scoring and was thwarted in injury time by keeper David De Gea as Hull pushed forward in the dying stages. United finished the game with 10 men after Antonio Valencia's late red.
Defending champion United, once 13 points off the pace in the Premier League, moved to within five of leader Liverpool ahead of Thursday's later kickoffs.
"We had some poor results at the start of the season and we're showing some real quality in the last few weeks," Rooney told Sky Sports. "We're having a go. We're fighting for each other, we're working hard and we're ready for the challenge.
"Hopefully we can surprise a few people."
Chester took advantage of slack marking in the United box on a corner to lash a shot into the roof of the net in the fourth minute and United defender Jonny Evans failed to clear in the 13th, allowing David Meyler to double the lead on a low effort that deflected off the Northern Irishman.
"It was my fault for the first one," said Rooney.
But Rooney's perfect delivery teed up Smalling in the 19th minute and the England striker scored his 150th Premier League goal for Manchester United with a volley in the 26th minute.
Alex Bruce -- the son of Hull manager and former United defender Steve Bruce -- struck the crossbar as United's defense wobbled again in the 63rd minute before Chester's gaffe from Ashley Young's dangerous cross in the 66th.
Hull had more than a few opportunities to equalize in the final 10 minutes.
Danny Graham's tame header went straight to De Gea, the Spaniard's poor punch led to panic and following Valencia's second yellow for kicking the ball away in the 90th minute, De Gea stopped Chester with his legs.