But at United now mood is everything and the manner in way this point was won will not do Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players very much harm at all.
United were poor and did not deserve much. All the big performances came from Burnley. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton – once of United – was magnificent and central defenders Ben Mee and James Tarkowski were not very far behind.
Two goals to the good with three minutes of regulation time to go, Sean Dyche’s team should have won and would have had Jeff Hendrick not fouled Jesse Lingard in the penalty area when he really didn’t have to.
It was soft but it was a penalty all the same. And when Paul Pogba swept in the kick, United swarmed all over Burnley like teams of yore.
Such was the ferocious, irresistable nature of the assault that followed, the only surprise was that Solskjaer’s team only scored one more.
By the end of five minutes of added time, Dyche’s players were hanging on like castaways clinging to a rock.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Jones, Shaw; Matic, Pereira (Lingard 63), Pogba, Mata; Rashford, Lukaku (Alexis 67)
Subs not used: Romero, Dalot, Smalling, Fred, Herrera
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Goals: Pogba (87), Lindelof (90+2)
Burnley (4-4-2): Heaton; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil (Gudmundsson 78); Barnes, Wood
Subs not used: Hart, Ward, Benson, Vydra, Gibson, Vokes
Manager: Sean Dyche
Goals: Barnes (51), Wood (81)
Booked: Barnes, Taylor, Cork
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Forget for a moment the barren years of Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and David Moyes, this was a finale taken straight from the Sir Alex Ferguson play book.
Where it leaves United is in touching distance of the top four and, crucially, unbeaten under Solskjaer. As such they will head to Leicester on Sunday feeling like the wind is still at their backs.
At times like this, when things are so delicately balanced, it can just take a single goal to determine a mood, a direction of travel. By the season’s end, Victor Lindelof’s equaliser may yet feel like a very big goal indeed.