ANTHONY MARTIAL and Wayne Rooney proved there’s life after Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a comfortable victory at Turf Moor.
Martial got United off to a flier as he was on the end of a blistering counter-attack to poke the ball past Tom Heaton in the Clarets’ goal.
United added a scrappy second before half-time in controversial manner, as Rooney pounced on a Martial handball to poke the ball home via a Michael Keane deflection.
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From there, United essentially killed the game off, shutting out Burnley to great effect.
The win helps Jose Mourinho’s men close the gap on the top four, now sitting just one point behind neighbours Manchester City.
FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS
- United supporters let out a huge roar when captain Rooney’s name was announced in the starting line-up – one of EIGHT changes from the Europa League victory over Anderlecht.
- Ibrahimovic’s injury and Mourinho’s decision to rest Marcus Rashford meant Rooney made only his second Premier League start since mid-December.
- Burnley fans greeted Rooney’s appearance with the time-honoured chant of “Who are ya?” – quickly followed by “No, really, who are ya?”.
- The big buzz among home fans was whether Michael Keane – an ever-present for the Clarets this season – would be back in United colours next season. Mourinho is eager to take former United trainee back to Old Trafford.
- Martial’s early goal meant United had completed the set, finally adding Turf Moor to the list of venues where they have hit the net in the Premier League. Before this they had scored at 54 out of 55 away grounds.
- That goal was Martial’s 25th for United meaning Monaco receive an “add-on” payment to boost the initial £36million they received for him 19 months ago.
- Sky commentator Gary Neville criticised Joey Barton for not bringing Martial down when he dispossessed him in the United half. Neville said: “As an experienced player Barton should have taken a yellow card for a cynical foul early in the move – once Martial was away from him, he was dead.”
- The away fans were clearly relieved their team had finally found a way through the Burnley rearguard. United had 37 attempts on goal without success when the teams played out a goal-less draw at Old Trafford in October.
- Rooney’s goal shortly before half time was his first since he broke Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record three months ago. He has now netted 251 times for United.
- Burnley are in danger of being dragged into the relegation scrap with Turf Moor proving far less of a fortress recently. The Clarets have scored just one goal in their last four home games, George Boyd’s winner against Stoke.
- The home fans gave their biggest cheer of the day midway through the second half when the ball was played through to Rooney – who slipped over when there was no-one within five yards of him, and conceded a free kick when the ball hit his hand.
Next four fixtures
Apr 29 – Crystal Palace (A) – PL
May 6 – West Brom (H) – PL
May 13 – Bournemouth (A) – PL
May 21 – West Ham (H) – PL
Apr 27 – Man City (A) – PL
Apr 30 – Swansea (H) – PL
May 4 – Celta Vigo (A) – EL
May 7 – Arsenal (A) – PL
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
BURNLEY: Heaton 6, Lowton 6, Keane 6, Mee 6 (Tarkowski 46, 6), Ward 6, Barton 6, Hendrick 6, Boyd 5 (Gudmundsson 62, 6), Brady 7, Gray 5, Barnes 5 (Agyei 75, 6).
Subs not used: Pope, Flanagan, Defour, Westwood.
Booked: Lowton, Hendrick.
MAN UNITED: De Gea 6, Bailly 8, Blind 7, Darmian 6, Young 7, Herrera 8, Fellaini 7, Pogba 7 (Carrick 90, 6), Lingard 6 (Rashford 70,6), Martial 8 (Mkhitaryan 80, 6), Rooney 7.
Subs not used: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe.
Goals: Martial (21), Rooney (39).
STAR MAN: ANTHONY MARTIAL (Man United)
WHAT THEY SAID
Player/manager reaction to follow…