That was more like it. The kind of performance Manchester United fans want to see every week – seeing their team dominate possession and get desired results.
Off the back of two consecutive embarrassing defeats to Brighton Hove and Albion and Tottenham Hotspurs, the Red Army were ridiculed, still, they were not to be taken for granted by Burnley.
From the blast of the whistle, United players were flying like the anti-woodward aircraft, showing no sign of complacency as they mounted pressure on Burnley at the Turf Moor.
It took them twenty-seven minutes to get the breakthrough; Romelo Lukaku rose above Burnley’s centre-half and headed home a pin-point cross from Alexis Sanchez to stir up the United bench, much to the satisfaction of Jose Mourinho.
A minute before halftime, the big Belgian was quick to pounce on a Lingard’s deflected shot as his right-footed strike inside the box was too much for Joe Hart. Two-nil at halftime and the job was close to being done.
That first half display, particularly the conversion of those chances was the difference between the United team that crumbled against Spurs at Old Trafford and the one that won at Turf Moor.
Although, Mourinho altered his starting line up; dropping Fred and Ander Herrera to the bench, called on Marouane Fellaini to the midfield and shuffled Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez’s roles – the difference was in the conversion rate of Lukaku, which capped off a commanding first-half display.
The second half performance was a bit similar to the display against Brighton and Tottenham. While Burnley was pushing them back, Joe Hart saved a Paul Pogba penalty, substitute Marcus Rashford was given the marching orders and Lukaku, under pressure from Mee, failed to convert an open net after dribbling Hart.
At the back, there was no loosing guard though. Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling were up to any ball flying over their heads just as Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw particularly, offered more defensively as they supported the attack.
Had the first half not created a gap, those three moments could have marred the red devils’ afternoon. It wouldn’t even be a matter of if or but.
While Pogba showboating and Lukaku’s fantasies can be forgiven, Marcus Rashford would beat himself really hard for his reaction following a needless tackle on him by Bardsley. A straight red for such act is however harsh.
Perhaps he’s aware of the acrimonious comments that will likely follow, the 20-year old was quick to apologise after the game.
“Emotions got the better of me, I shouldn’t have reacted like that. Sorry to everyone at the club and all the fans #MUFC” Rashford tweeted after the game.
With six points out of a possible 12, Manchester United are not where they want to be, but if they get their acts together, they would be back where they belong. Such results and performance will usually complement each other.
If it was a test, Mourinho and his men surely passed in flying colours. What a relief, heading into the first international break.