(Manchester United – Burnley 3-1) Ralf Rangnick (63) called the Newcastle match “a negative surprise”, but in Thursday’s match the red shirts once again had reason to smile.
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Manchester United’s German manager made six changes and was well paid for that move.
Already after just over half an hour, the match was practically decided. Scott McTominay sent the hosts in the lead with a well-placed shot after eight minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo got a bad touch, but it took advantage of the Scot by burning to and scoring his first Premier League goal of the season.
Then Jadon Sancho doubled the lead for the occasion after a cheeky one-man performance, although the goal will probably remain as an own goal after changing direction in Ben Mee.
Then it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s turn. Once again, it was Scott McTominay who squeezed in.
Wayne Hennessey – who guarded the cage in the absence of corona-infected Nick Pope – saved the attempt, but Cristiano Ronaldo had a jump start on the return and got an easy job pushing the ball into the empty cage.
Shortly afterwards, Aaron Lennon reduced the lead after catching the ball as a result of a bad touch from Eric Bailly. The Burnley striker advanced a few meters and placed the ball in the corner.
It was never exciting at Old Trafford, the day before Sir Alex Ferguson’s 80th birthday, although Burnley put the United defenders in some unpleasant situations on a couple of occasions.
It all ebbed out in a rather forgettable second round, and former Premier League player Don Hutchison was among those who did not let themselves be entertained:
Thus, Manchester United is still undefeated after Ole Gunnar Solskjær had to leave the job after the 1-4 loss to Watford on 20 November.
Michael Carrick led the team to two wins and one draw, while Ralf Rangnick has followed up with three wins and two draws.
In the Premier League, the team has picked up ten out of twelve possible points under the German’s leadership. Only in the 1-1 match against Newcastle last has United given points with Rangnick at the helm.
During Solskjær’s last eight games as manager, Manchester United won only two games, played two draws and lost four.
Thursday’s victory means that United are only four points behind Arsenal in fourth place – with one game to spare.
Manchester United’s next opponent is Wolverhampton at Old Trafford on January 3.