A Mason Greenwood brace helped Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Burnley in what was a hard-fought encounter at Old Trafford.
Burnley thought they had taken the lead within 17 seconds, Dean Henderson making an absolute mess of an attempted punch with Chris Wood’s header trickling into an empty net, before the New Zealander’s celebrations were cut short due to an offside.
Manchester United did fashion a couple of decent chances in the opening period, with Clarets stand-in ‘keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell keeping out efforts from Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, while Chris Wood’s physicality was a constant threat at the other end.
The Red Devils have often been much better performers in the second half of games, and they took the lead within three minutes of the restart. Rashford made a superb run down the left flank – excellently skinning Matt Lowton on the way – before playing it towards Bruno Fernandes who dummied to allow the ball to roll between his legs, with Mason Greenwood following in behind to continue his recent upturn in form with a well-taken strike.
Their lead would last less than two minutes though, United’s struggles at set-pieces once again rearing its head as James Tarkowski got the better of Harry Maguire to steer a header beyond Henderson.
United toiled going forward, though would regain the led with six minutes to play, Mason Greenwood’s effort from the right side of the box taking a wicked deflection off Charlie Taylor to leave Peacock-Farrell with no chance.
Burnley threw everyone upfield in the search of another equaliser, and having lost possession, the Red Devils broke quickly to add a third in the 93rd minute, Bruno Fernandes slipping the ball into substitute Donny van de Beek who squared it across the box to fellow sub, Edinson Cavani, who tapped home from inside six yards.
19 – Manchester United have won 19 of their 32 Premier League games this season (D9 L4), now one more than the Red Devils managed throughout the 2019-20 campaign (P38 W18 D12 L8). Advance. pic.twitter.com/0O4Gbquha1
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 18, 2021
The win moves Manchester United back to within eight points of leaders, Man City, and speaking afterwards, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted it was a ‘scrappy’ game, but felt his side were deserved winners.
“Very happy with three points, we haven’t beat Burnley here since 2015. Good result, five wins on the bounce, that’s good form,” he told Sky Sports.
“First half we started OK, got control but we couldn’t find the big openings and Burnley made it more of an end-to-end game, bit scrappy because they defended and attacked so well we couldn’t get a rhythm. We played and ran in the second half, got chances and got the goal deservedly, you switched off for two seconds for the corner and that’s how it is against Burnley.”
Dean Henderson has seemingly usurped David de Gea as United’s number one, and Solskjaer admitted his early mistake was a ‘wake-up’ call from the England international.
“First one is a wake-up call for him, he’s a proactive keeper and luckily he was offside so another win and Dean is still learning and maturing.”
Mason Greenwood has now netted four goals and provided an assist in his last three league outings and the United boss was delighted with his performance.
15 – Mason Greenwood is now the joint-top scoring teenager in Premier League history for Manchester United (15, level with Wayne Rooney). Class. pic.twitter.com/O1Xj5SP6t4
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 18, 2021
“Fantastic, two very good goals coming in off the left at the moment. I feel his best position is to be more free on the right, face the goal and he showed that today.
“We’ve always said this year has to be progress and improvement, we’ve got as many points as last season and then if we get some more we’ve got more than last season, that’s progress. We want to finish with a trophy in the Europa League, we’ve got loads of games and loads to focus on.”
United now have a rare week off before their next fixture when they make the trip across the Pennines to face old foes, Leeds United, next Sunday.