A brace from Romelu Lukaku against Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday evening relieved the pressure on Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
The Belgian hitman looked at his best as United got back to winning ways against Sean Dyche’s men. He headed home in the 27th minute before doubling the lead just before half-time with a predatory finish. He passed up numerous opportunities to notch his hat-trick with Joe Hart also saving Paul Pogba’s poor penalty.
Marcus Rashford was sent off for an altercation with Phil Bardsley but it proved elemental as the Red Devils snapped their losing streak.
Lukaku notches a big goal for Mourinho
Sean Dyche’s men, who were eliminated from the Europa League in mid-week, really struggled to cope with their visitors from the off. Lukaku immediately teed up Jesse Lingard but the England forward curled his effort just wide. The 25-year-old then combined well with Alexis Sanchez but again put wide from range.
It did not take much longer for Jose Mourinho troops to hit the front through Lukaku. The Belgian was able to manufacture space between Charlie Taylor and Ben Mee to nod home Sanchez’s cross from only eight yards out.
United double the lead before the break
He was almost key in a United second as Joe Hart produced an excellent save. The striker had played a quick one-two with Sanchez before attempting to chip over the goalkeeper but the Burnley man managed to tip it away.
The Clarets were the cause of their own downfall as the Red Devils stretched their advantage with only one minute of regular time remaining in the half. Lingard again tried to find the net from distance only to see Taylor produce a block. Burnley failed to clear the ball as it fell into the path of Lukaku and he thumped the ball home from inside the penalty area.
Hart denies Pogba from the spot to give Clarets hope
The game should have been sewn up in the opening minutes of the second-half as good play between Antonio Valencia and Paul Pogba provided Sanchez with a chance. It was a difficult opportunity, though, as his flying effort bobbled into the hands of Hart. Luke Shaw was the next to test Hart from a tight angle but the goalkeeper pawed the defender’s shot away.
United should have extended their advantage mid-way through the second half as the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on substitute Rashford by Aaron Lennon. After netting two from the penalty spot in the opening three games, Pogba stepped up. However, the Frenchman was not to extend his perfect record with a poor effort lacking power that Hart saved with his legs.
Rashford sees red
Burnley’s task was made slightly easier as Rashford was again involved, but this time was given his marching orders. Attempting to shield away from Phil Bardsley, the youngster was taken out. He reacted aggressively and pushed his head towards the experienced full back with Jon Moss having no hesitation in awarding the red card to the England star.
Lukaku might have got his hat-trick as he was released one-on-one with Hart but could not beat the former Manchester City man. He then spurned an even bigger opportunity as he was chipped through by Pogba. The former Everton man took the ball around Hart but was put off by the presence of Ben Mee and somehow put the ball wide. He then had an effort deflected over the crossbar as he continued to hunt for his treble.
Sam Vokes could have pulled a goal back late in the day but his powerful header was well stopped by David De Gea. United, though, kept Dyche’s troops at arms length to notch their second victory of the season.
The relief surrounding Manchester United will be palpable. In all, the Red Devils were much better than their hosts and were deserving of their first-half advantage. Although, Burnley will be disappointed at allowing them to stroll away from Turf Moor so easily with the win.
Despite victory, Rashford will be disappointed at having picked up a petulant red card ahead of the international break. He will now miss at least United’d next three matches.
Burnley: Hart (8); Taylor (6), Mee (7), Tarkowski (6), Bardsley (6); Lennon (5), Cork (6), Hendrick (5) (Vokes (5), 58′), Westwood (5), McNeil (6) (Barnes (N/A), 80′); Wood (5) (Vokes (N/A), 84′).
Manchester United: De Gea (6), Shaw (6), Lindelöf (6), Smalling (7), Valencia (7); Fellaini (6), Matic (7), Pogba (7) (Bailly (N/A), 90+1′); Lingard (7) (Herrera (6), 71′), Sanchez (6) (Rashford (4), 60′), Lukaku (8).
Goals: Lukaku (27′, 44′)
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Yellow Cards: Sanchez (18′), McNeil (53′), Bardsley (71′), Shaw (75′)
Red Cards: Rashford (71′)
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