Gunnar Solskjaer winning run ends
Gunnar Solskjaer winning run ends. United were facing their first defeat under Gunnar Solskjaer until Paul Pogba scored from the penalty spot in the 87th minute and Victor Lindelof scrambled in a 92nd-minute equaliser. The hosts had previously won all eight matches since the Norwegian took charge. Burnley had defended resolutely until conceding twice late on and were in front thanks to second-half goals from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. Barnes smashed home from inside the penalty area at the start of the second half after a mistake by Andreas Pereira and Wood headed in Barnes’ cross in the 81st minute. “The comeback was brilliant, the players have been asked about how they would react if they went 1-0 or 2-0 down so I felt the comeback was fantastic,” Gunnar Solskjaer said. “We had loads of chances, loads of possession, we didn’t deserve to lose.
“We disappointed ourselves and we disappointed the crowd today, but the ones who stayed had a typical Old Trafford finish to the game so that was a big plus.” The draw means United fail to move level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea, while Burnley go up a place to 15th, four points clear of the relegation zone. Former striker Solskjaer’s most famous moment as a player at Manchester United was the winning goal in a stunning comeback in the 1999 Champions League final. This turnaround is less significant, and only salvaged a draw rather than a win, but it will help to maintain the momentum gained at Old Trafford under Solskjaer’s management. After Marcus Rashford put an excellent chance wide in the ninth minute, United had struggled to break down Burnley. They showed plenty of intent but were limited largely to shots from outside the penalty area.
Wood’s header looked to have settled the game but six minutes later Jeff Hendrick pulled Jesse Lingard down in the penalty area and when Pogba converted calmly into the top corner, a frantic finished ensued. Pogba had an effort from 18 yards brilliantly saved by Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton before United snatched their equaliser in the second of five minutes of added time. Previously Burnley’s defence had cleared any crosses but Alexis Sanchez managed to get a header on goal. Although his effort was saved by Heaton, the Burnley goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent Lindelof following up from close range. Had the game ended after Wood’s goal, it would be hard to argue Burnley did not deserve to win. United had applied pressure but Burnley’s back four and goalkeeper Heaton had been excellent and prevented the hosts creating clear-cut opportunities. On Saturday Sean Dyche’s side were thrashed 5-0 at Manchester City in the FA Cup but with the first-choice line-up restored, after Dyche made seven changes at Etihad Stadium, Burnley’s resilience returned. The Clarets also posed a threat going forward and were clinical when their own two opportunities came. There was clear disappointment at full-time among the Burnley team, as they were denied a first win at Old Trafford since 1962, but manager Sean Dyche maintained after the game that it was not a case of two points dropped.
Solskjaer’s spell in charge at Old Trafford had been immaculate with eight wins from eight since replacing Jose Mourinho, and calls had been increasing for him to be given the job permanently. Despite the dramatic fightback, there were a number of negatives from the performance against Burnley. Solskjaer made five changes from Friday’s FA Cup win against Arsenal with Andreas Pereira, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata among those to come in. Pereira was poor on his first league start since August and was at fault for Burnley’s opener when he was easily dispossessed by Jack Cork 25 yards from his own goal. Lukaku struggled to make an impact up front on his first league start under Solskjaer with Rashford, who had scored five goals in eight games under the Norwegian, was switched to a wide left position where he was less effective. Mata played alongside Lukaku and Rashford in a front three and looked off the pace. United’s attack looked more potent when Lingard and Sanchez were introduced as substitutes. “We fought, that wasn’t the problem. We were just too slow in possession in the first half,” Solskjaer said. “For the first goal we played our way into trouble. It wasn’t the attitude, the application was too slow and the tempo on the ball wasn’t good enough. But the reaction was good.”