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De Gea, Martial 7/10 as Man United win to stay pace in top-4 race

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Manchester United eased the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as they beat local rivals Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor in the Premier League. In what proved to be a relatively dull affair in Lancashire, it was Anthony Martial who gave the visitors the lead just before half-time, before Marcus Rashford sealed the deal in injury time after a nice counter attack.

Positives

There was a patience to United’s game that we haven’t always necessarily seen this season. They were professional in their approach and they didn’t exert themselves, managing their energy and respecting the pressure that Burnley could bring. They were also, for the most part, composed at the back and had a solid defensive core which got them out of jail on a few occasions.

Negatives

There were definitely times when the communication just didn’t seem to be there throughout the spine of the squad and it felt like they were a step behind the Clarets as a result. They played the possession game but rarely did all too much with it, and the telegraphed nature of their play made every single pass look wooden and, in truth, quite dull.

Manager rating out of 10

 6 —  Solskjaer was quite clearly managing his resources with his team selection against Burnley, but it was still a risk and it was still fairly uninspiring of the Norwegian. They were able to wear Burnley down eventually, and the fact that he waited so long to make any changes showcased his faith in his own decisions — which could certainly be regarded as progress.

De Gea, Martial 7/10 as Man United win to stay pace in top-4 race
David de Gea did enough to ensure Manchester United left Burnley with a win.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David de Gea, 7 — Was rarely called upon throughout the game at Turf Moor but produced a few decent saves to help his side out, as you’d expect.

DF Ashley Young, 6 — May be one of the grittiest players in the Premier League, but in this game, that just translated into an incredibly dull performance that lacked any urgency.

DF Victor Lindelof, 7 — Had better decision-making than he has done in a long time, was strong with his reactions and played the ball out from the back pretty well.

DF Harry Maguire, 6 — Plays a physical game as and when is required but still has that careless side to his game — although it wasn’t on display quite as much as it has been in the past.

DF Brandon Williams, 8 — Appears to be one of the bright sparks in this Manchester United team with a great mixture of confidence, flair and passion for the club.

MF Fred, 6 — Shows good ideas but still needs to find better execution in an attacking sense. Did look more alert when put alongside a midfielder like Matic.

MF Nemanja Matic, 7 — Does the simple stuff well, and while he doesn’t set the world on fire, he does the dirty work that needs doing in the middle of the park.

AMF Daniel James, 7 — Had a bit more freedom down the flanks than he has done in recent games, but waited until injury time to really impress with a nice assist for Rashford.

AMF Andreas Pereira, 7 — Appeared to be trying to make things happen at every available opportunity and produced a really nice assist for the opener.

FW Marcus Rashford, 7 — Really went at Burnley in the first half but faded dramatically in the second — only to grab a goal in the dying minutes.

FW Anthony Martial, 7 — Lays the ball off well and brings others into the game with ease. Took his goal very well to give the Red Devils the lead.

Substitutes

DF Luke Shaw, N/A — Couldn’t make the most of his cameo as questions continue to be raised over whether or not he will be a long-term member of this squad.

AMF Jesse Lingard, N/A — Couldn’t quite find his footing when he was called upon after being introduced in the 72nd minute.

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