Manchester United laboured their way to a 1-0 victory against Burnley at Turf Moor, as they cut Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Premier League to nine points.
Anthony Martial’s strike gave United all three points, but it was a pretty poor performance from the Reds, who weren’t really at the races today against a stubborn Burnley side.
José Mourinho made just the one change from the side that beat Stoke City on Monday, with Ashley Young returning from a three-match ban to replace the in-form Luke Shaw.
It was a game low on action, with United having most of the ball but failing to create clear-cut openings throughout. The game’s pivotal moment came close to the hour mark, with Romelu Lukaku playing a huge part in the United goal.
The Belgian shrugged off the attentions of two Burnley defenders and charged down the right-hand side, before finding an unmarked Martial. The Frenchman squared up Phil Bardsley before curling the ball past Nick Pope via the crossbar, making it three consecutive Premier League games on the scoresheet.
Burnley pushed for an equaliser, but the closest they came was through Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s free-kick shortly afterwards, which hit the woodwork and bounced over.
Here are the United player ratings:
David de Gea - 6
Pretty much a bystander in the United goal, with Burnley not creating much in the way of chances.
Antonio Valencia - 6
Didn’t offer much support on the right flank on a day where Juan Mata struggled.
Phil Jones - 7
Another solid display, cutting out several Burnley counter-attacks before they materialised into further danger.
Chris Smalling - 6
Bailed out by Jones on several occasions but certainly stepped up his performance levels in the second half.
Ashley Young - 6
Provided United’s best moment of the first half: a curling shot that fizzed just wide. Offered attacking threat but lacked end product.
Nemanja Matic - 5
Another sluggish afternoon. Just seems to be off the pace at the moment and his distribution was subpar.
Paul Pogba - 5
A case of trying too hard and providing very little. Produced a fine moment in the second half as he charged forward from his own half but ruined it by making the wrong decision in the final third.
Juan Mata - 5
Very sloppy performance. Couldn’t seem to keep the ball and his passing was off-key. Might well be the fall guy if Alexis Sanchez’s move goes through ahead of the FA Cup tie with Yeovil Town on Friday.
Jesse Lingard - 5
Subdued performance, as Burnley’s physical midfield neutralised his presence in the final third.
Anthony Martial - 7
Involved with a fine battle against Phil Bardsley on the left flank and eventually got the better of his marker, producing a fine strike. Very much in-form at the moment.
Romelu Lukaku - 7
Horrendously isolated by the lack of service in the first half, but arguably played the biggest part in United’s goal with some fantastic play and providing the assist.
Marouane Fellaini (5) – Gave United a more physical presence in midfield, but decision making might come under scrutiny – a backheel flick instead of keeping the ball in injury-time is certainly poor.
Marcus Rashford (5) – Shades of the Leicester performance before Christmas, wasting several opportunities with the ball in the final third.
Ander Herrera (N/A) – A brief cameo in stoppage time.
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