Run over but United stage vintage Lancashire derby fightback
January 30 2019
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's winning run as Manchester United manager came to an end on Tuesday evening. However, an impressive late comeback - in a 2-2 draw with Burnley - evoked the spirit of many United teams the Norwegian is famously featured in as a player.
United went into the game as big favourites, having won a stunning eight games on the bounce following Solskjaer's appointment as Jose Mourinho's successor.
Lancashire rivals Burnley arrived at Old Trafford in much-improved league form, but had been humbled in Manchester just days earlier in a 5-0 FA Cup thumping at the hands of City.
The game marked the return to Old Trafford of goalkeeper, and ex-Red, Tom Heaton - one of England's finest goalkeepers. Heaton has been unfortunate to face such intense competition at Burnley from Joe Hart and Nick Pope - as he should be number one for a host of top-flight clubs, and probably his country too.
Indeed, Heaton was in inspired form, as United struggled to recreate some of their fine recent clinical attacking endeavours - so wonderfully demonstrated in the FA Cup last time out as United won at Arsenal.
Burnley defended stoutly throughout the opening period, and their travelling fans gained in confidence after the break as United's couldn't find a way through.
Solskjaer's charges bossed almost three quarters of possession, and took 28 shots to the Clarets' six, but Burnley seized their chances as they came. Ashley Barnes drilled home on 51 minutes, before turning provider for Chris Woods, who doubled the advantage on 81 minutes.
The winning run was over - but O.G.S delivered the next best thing; as United secured a trademark Red Devils comeback.
A cool penalty was dispatched by Paul Pogba on 87 minutes, before Victor Lindelof scrambled home in the second minute of stoppage time, to the delight of United's rejuvenated home support. The comeback was vintage MUFC; United's famous belief was back.
The magic of Solskjaer's winning run is over; but this league point proved something else - that his team, despite no personnel changes, can perform when the chips are down. This was two points dropped, of course. Yet the fact it felt like a win is testimony to what OGS has done since taking the reigns at the club.
Next up - Leicester City, and the chance to go ten unbeaten.
Full Time - Manchester United 2-2 Burnley
Attendance - 74,529
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