So no embarrassment but another dose of disappointment. This United team is not good enough for a sustained Premier League title challenge. Nowhere near good enough in fact and here was another afternoon to show us why.
After criticising his players so publicly after Saturday’s draw at Leicester, the United manager put his neck on the line with a brave team selection.
Manchester United’s lingering Premier League title hopes were dealt another blow despite them coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Burnley on Tuesday.
Jose Mourinho’s side were facing a defeat at Old Trafford for only the second time this year thanks to first-half goals from Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour, before Jesse Lingard came off the bench to earn his side a point.
It means United have still only lost to Manchester City at home in 2017, but they will be 15 points behind the runaway Premier League leaders if Pep Guardiola’s side beat Newcastle United on Wednesday.
The Red Devils endured a tough week before Christmas as they exited the EFL Cup to Bristol City before conceding a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 league draw with Leicester City, and they found themselves behind after only three minutes when Barnes capitalised on their failure to defend a free-kick.
United pushed for an equaliser, but were dealt a sucker punch when Defour, once linked with a move to the club, struck a superb free-kick before the interval.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Manchester United: (4-2-3-1): De Gea 6; Young 7, Jones 6, Rojo 5.5 (Mkhitaryan 45 – 6), Shaw 6; Pogba 6, Matic 6; Mata 6, Ibrahimovic 5.5 (Lingard 45 – 7) , Rashford 6; Lukaku 6
Subs not used: Lindelof, Blind, Romero, Herrera, Tuanzebe
Booked: Rojo, Shaw
Goals: Lingard 53, 90+1
Manager: Jose Mourinho – 6.5
Burnley: (4-4-1-1): Pope 7; Bardsley 7, Long 8.5, Mee 8, Taylor 7; Gudmundsson 6.5, Defour 7.5 (Vokes 66 – 6.5), Cork 7, Arfield 7, Hendrick 7; Barnes 7 (Walters 80 – 6)
Subs not used: Lowton, Marney, Vokes, Westwood, Wells, Lindegaard
Booked: Barnes, Taylor, Gundmundsson, Bardsley, Pope, Vokes
Goals: Barnes 3, Defour 36
Manager: Sean Dyche – 8
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Kevin Long.