26 Dec Jesse Lingard’s double spares Manchester United’s blushes in draw with Burnley
Jesse Lingard came off the bench to strike twice and rescue a 2-2 draw for Manchester United against Burnley at Old Trafford.
A third-minute effort from Ashley Barnes and a brilliant Steven Defour free-kick had put the Clarets, who also hit the bar, on course for a stunning first away win over United for 55 years.
But while the final result may still prove another blow for United’s faltering Premier League title challenge, Lingard spared his side’s blushes by pulling one back and then levelling through a crowded box in injury time.
Tweet of the Match
Star Man – Jesse Lingard
The introduction of Lingard undoubtedly improved United’s attack.
The England international was more dynamic than Zlatan Ibrahimovic and proved more adept at getting in the right place when it mattered.
His first goal was a superb back-heeled finish and he might have had another before he fired the equaliser through a crowd of bodies.
Moment of the match
Beating David de Gea has proved an almost impossible task for many fine players but Defour did so with a brilliant curling free-kick before half-time.
It was undoubtedly a sweet moment for the former Standard Liege and Anderlecht player, who saw hopes of a possible move to United evaporate after breaking a bone in his foot in 2009.
At the time, then United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wrote him a letter urging him not to be discouraged. He may not have expected the player to prove the point to him so close to home.
View from the bench
United manager Jose Mourinho showed his frustration after a number of decisions by referee Martin Atkinson but his own initial team selection was perhaps a mistake.
United did have several chances in an open first half but Ibrahimovic looked laboured. The team were much more fluent after the introduction of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and, especially, Lingard at half-time.
His changes salvaged the game, but Mourinho will ultimately still be frustrated at the dropped points.
Sean Dyche could have nothing but praise for his hard-working side, particularly the way in which they seized their early chances and defended stoically.
Manchester United: David de Gea 6, Ashley Young 7, Phil Jones 6, Marcos Rojo 6, Luke Shaw 6, Paul Pogba 7, Nemanja Matic 7, Juan Mata 7, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 5, Romelu Lukaku 5, Marcus Rashford 6. Substitutes: Jesse Lingard (for Ibrahimovic, 45) 8, Henrik Mkhitaryan (for Rojo, 45) 6Burnley: Nick Pope 8, Phil Bardsley 7, Kevin Long 7, Ben Mee 8, Charlie Taylor 7, Johann Berg Gudmundsson 7, Steven Defour 7, Jack Cork 6, Scott Arfield 7, Jeff Hendrick 7, Ashley Barnes 7. Substitutes: Sam Vokes (for Defour, 67) 6, Jonathan Walters (for Barnes, 81) 6.
Who’s up next?
Manchester United v Southampton (Premier League, December 30)
Huddersfield v Burnley (Premier League, December 30)