BURNLEY 0 UNITED 2 PINKY AND PERKY REDS GIVE FANS REAL CHEER
LAST Monday night it ended with applause and at Turf Moor United supporters put their hands together again. But not just for Jose Mourinho.
That plane banner message some militant supporters had arranged for prompted the majority of the Reds fans inside the ground to put their hands together as it flew across the Lancashire skyline 20 minutes before kick-off.
It was Mourinho’s words – to Arsene Wenger in 2014, specifically – that United fans quoted in their protest: ‘Ed Woodward: A specialist in failure’. Once the game began, the support for Mourinho and the players clad in their new pink ensemble intensified.
The United players were nearly the supporters’ equal in an at times productive and pacy display that, unlike the Tottenham capitulation, included goals.
Alexis Sanchez’s deft dink was converted steadily by Romelu Lukaku in the 27th minute.
Juan Mata, Sergio Romero and Scott McTominay were cut from the squad and sat among the away followers, where their names were aired loudly.
Normality was restored; as United players, staff and matchgoers enjoyed themselves and Mourinho threatened to renege on his Friday pledge that he does not ‘put his face in front of the camera’ as he cut loose with his celebration for the second. Sanchez’s incision set Luke Shaw marauding into the area and Jesse Lingard’s ricocheted shot was gobbled up by the ruthless Lukaku again.
How appropriate Mourinho signings made the difference as supporters railed against Woodward and the Glazer family owners’ miserliness. ‘Mourinho’s Red and White Army!’ United fans roared as the eponymous Portuguese strolled across the Turf Moor turf two goals to the good at the pause. There was also a dash of schadenfreude as Joe Hart faced the United fans in the second half to taunts of ‘City reject’.
What should have been a wholly serene afternoon was only upset by two acts of petulance. Firstly from Paul Pogba’s pathetic penalty which Hart comfortably saved in the 69th minute. Two minutes later Marcus Rashford reacted to Phil Bardsley’s snide kick by butting heads. Bardsley was booked and Rashford received his first career dismissal. He will not be available for domestic selection again until September 29 at West Ham.
This was United’s most dominant, controlled and professional performance of the campaign. Burnley were ideal opponents, in fairness; what with being winless going into the fixture and unfamiliar to the Thursday-Sunday sched- uling that Europa League football entails.
Still, any win would have done after an awful August.
The livewire Lingard’s movement befuddled the Clarets from the off and he ought to have put United ahead with one of his three opportunities prior to Lukaku’s opener.
The Reds unsuccessfully used the aerial tactic with Lukaku when their incision was slick enough ●● to breach their hosts. Sanchez showcased that with the backheel that sparked Shaw’s surge and ended with Lukaku lashing in a second.
Lukaku squandered three one-on-ones - two of them with United reduced to 10 men - and that profligacy might be punished on another day. United’s voluble fans did not dwell at that as the players approached them at full-time, though. ●●
Romelu Lukaku scores his and United’s second goal
Romelu Lukaku beats Joe Hart in the Burnley goal to make it 1-0