United up to sixth after 3-1 win over Burnley

With the win, United moved above Spurs into
sixth, level on 31 points with fifth-placed West Ham United. Burnley remain in
18th place on 11 points.

After the poor display in Monday’s 1-1 draw at
Newcastle, Rangnick made six changes to his side with Edinson Cavani starting
in attack alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

Burnley, who had their last three games
postponed due to COVID-19 cases amongst their opponents, were hit by four
positives of their own, including goalkeeper Nick Pope, while key forward
Maxwel Cornet was ruled out with injury.

The wide-open nature of the game was evident
from the outset with Chris Wood missing an early chance, heading wide for the
visitor’s and then Ronaldo wasted a glorious opportunity, firing over the bar
when clear on goal.

But it was not long before United had the lead
— Mason Greenwood’s pass to Ronaldo was mis-controlled but Scott McTominay
leapt on the loose ball and struck a low drive through the crowded area and
into the bottom corner.

Luke Shaw then burst through the middle of the
Burnley defence but fired his shot into the side netting as United visibly grew
in confidence.

The second was not long in coming, after a
mix-up in the Burnley defence, Jadon Sancho cut in from the left and his low
shot took a deflection off the outstretched foot of Burnley skipper Ben Mee and
beat Wayne Hennessey.

United, playing with an attacking 4-4-2
formation, were leaving space for Burnley to break into and looked far from
secure at the back but their positive approach paid off when they grabbed the
third goal in the 35th minute.

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Hennessey tipped a fierce McTominay drive
against the post but the ball fell straight to Ronaldo, who guided the ball
into the unguarded goal.

That felt like game over but Burnley kept
themselves in with a chance thanks to a fine solo effort from Aaron Lennon, the
former Spurs winger taking advantage of a poor touch from Eric Bailly,
dribbling into the United box and beating David De Gea with a well-placed
angled shot.

Hennessey did well to keep out efforts from
Greenwood and Cavani after the break while Burnley’s chances were limited to
headers at set-pieces from James Tarkowski.

Rangnick was pleased with the attacking
performance in the first half in particular.

“The whole team performance was a lot
better, I was pleased with the performances of our wingers. Jadon did well and
Mason. Edi (Cavani) and Cristiano, the work effort was amazing,” he said.

United are four points behind fourth-placed
Arsenal, with a game in hand, as they search for a way into the top four and a
place in next season’s Champions League.

“I wouldn’t say fourth is the minimum. It
is about taking next development steps. Now eight games in a row without a
defeat. It is about taking next steps,” said the German.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said his team had
paid the price for some lax defending.

“The frustrating thing for me is that we
could have made two blocks on the edge of the box and we didn’t,” he said.

“I was quite pleased with the performance
generally, we are a little bit stretched with COVID and injuries. There were
some good performances but the details are killing us.”

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