Man United kept up their chase for the top four in the Premier League with a comfortable win over Burnley.
United started brightly, and nearly went in front in the the first ten minutes but, Wayne Rooney’s shot from very close range was saved by Tom Heaton. Also, with more than ten minutes played, Marouane Fellaini had a header well saved in the bottom corner by Heaton.
Michael Keane had a decent chance for Burnley, but he headed wide from a good position. Straight after that, United went the other side of the pitch and scored. Wayne Rooney sent Anthony Martial on his way, who played it to Ander Herrera, and after Herrera laid it off, Martial swept it home past Heaton to put United in front.
It was Martial’s 25th goal for United, which means that they have to pay an extra £8.5m to his former club, Monaco because of a clause in his contract. He hasn’t had as good a season as last year, but he showed glimpses of last year in this game.
In the 39th minute, United doubled their lead through Rooney. Paul Pogba played in Martial, who had a shot well blocked by Heaton, but it came through to Rooney, who scuffed home the second of the match. It was his first goal since January, when he had become United’s all-time top scorer, but he has had to wait three months for number 251.
Burnley’s home form has been very good this season, with 32 points out of their 36 points won at home. But, in this game they struggled to cope with United, and their only real chance was at the end of the first half, when Andre Gray had a shot well blocked by Eric Bailly inside the box. From the resulting corner, Gray tried an acrobatic effort, but ended up missing the ball.
The second was comfortable for United, with hardly any chances for either teams, but United never looked in danger of conceding. The only time Burnley looked threatening was in the last 10 minutes when Keane headed across goal from a free-kick and substitute Daniel Agyei placed his right-footed snap-shot past the post.
Because of the season-ending injuries to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo, Mourinho was forced to shuffle his team around once again. He has to start Daley Blind at centre-back, partnering Bailly but, Blind looked assured and composed throughout the game.
He also had brought in Rooney and Martial for Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford. Mourinho must’ve had one eye on the Manchester derby on Thursday and the fact that Rashford has played a lot recently, so must be a bit jaded. Rooney completed a full 90 minutes for the first time since September and enjoyed a productive partnership with Martial.
United remain in fifth place, one point off Man City on Thursday, with the game on Thursday looking huge for either team’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s Champions League. Burnley are now sitting in 16th place, five points above the relegation zone. They have only won once in 11 matches and have not one away all season.
Next up for United is the Manchester derby on Thursday, the 27 April. Hopefully they can get the win to move into the top four.