United players struggled to complete simple 5 yard passes or control the ball. I lost count of the occasions where a simple pass would have put Martial through. United laboured every pass, perhaps they were waiting for another 12 yards of space to aim at? It wasn’t pretty and they almost threw it away but United left with the three points.
Burnley were resolute at the back but also very well organised. It took 41 minutes for United to get a shot off but United finished the half without a shot on target. Burnley smothered Martial and Valencia on the flanks each and every time they moved forward.
That is all easy to accept, fair play Burnley. The problem lies with the multi millionaire footballers playing for Manchester United who cannot think on their feet and decide to mix it up and go through the middle. They are coached to the point that they lose any sense of self. “We can’t play the ball down the middle because it’s not on the sheet! THE SHEET!”
Mourinho started with Valencia, Jones, Smalling and Young. To put that in context: the starting back four today were signed by Alex Ferguson. How, with the riches at the disposal of the last three managers, are Manchester United still in this predicament?
The usual catalogue of errors by Smalling were on display but also the lack of chemistry with Jones. How many more years can this go on for? Words fail me, it seems like this nightmare will never end.
The big story today has been the inclusion of Ashley Young over the fit and in-form Luke Shaw at left back. Young returned from suspension and went straight back into the team. Words fail me again, because the just do.
After having zero shots on target in the first half you just knew United would score with their first. Lukaku did incredibly well to hold up the ball in midfield and was determined, stayed on the ball and picked out Martial who was free on the edge of the box. The finish was sublime. Martial gave the eye to the goalkeeper and Bardsley who both shaped to cover the far side of the goal. Martial battered the ball home at the near post. Brilliant stuff.
Next up for United is a trip to Yeovil Town in the FA Cup on Friday before another away trip to Spurs at Wembley next Wednesday night. After the performance today it might be worth throwing a fiver on Yeovil.