Manchester United dropped out of the top four after bottom club Burnley came from behind to draw 1-1 at Turf Moor.
Paul Pogba had put Ralf Rangnick’s team ahead in a first half that they dominated but Jay Rodriguez’s fine goal soon after the break earned Sean Dyche’s side their point.
United, with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, were left to rue missed opportunities as they drop out of the Champions League places following West Ham’s victory against Watford.
Burnley remain bottom but if they are able to show the fighting spirit personified by new signing Wout Weghorst then they will remain hopeful they can stay up.
Burnley: Pope (8), Roberts (6), Tarkowski (7), Mee (8), Pieters (7), McNeil (7), Brownhill (7), Westwood (7), Cornet (6), Rodriguez (7), Weghorst (8).
Subs: Lennon (6), Barnes (n/a).
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Dalot (6), Varane (7), Maguire (5), Shaw (7), Pogba (7), McTominay (6), Fernandes (7), Sancho (7), Cavani (6), Rashford (7).
Subs: Ronaldo (6), Lingard (6), Elanga (n/a).
Man of the match: Wout Weghorst
Man Utd fail to sustain strong start
In his first Premier League appearance since October, Pogba produced an expert finish from Luke Shaw’s low cross to underline United’s obvious superiority early on.
United also had two goals disallowed either side of Pogba’s opener. A VAR call for an offside by the interfering Harry Maguire ruled out Raphael Varane’s header.
Later in the first half, Josh Brownhill deposited Marcus Rashford’s cross beyond his own goalkeeper but was spared because of a foul by Pogba moments earlier.
It required an astonishing save from Nick Pope to deny Edinson Cavani from point-blank range and keep Burnley in the game going into the second half.
For 45 minutes, it was United at their fluent best with Jadon Sancho’s combination play with Shaw looking particularly promising. The fact they could not sustain it will be a concern.
Rangnick left frustrated by disallowed goals
When asked afterwards whether this was a case of United not being clinical enough in finishing the game, Rangnick pointed to the goals his team were denied by the officials.
“We scored three goals,” the interim boss told BT.
“The second one that was disallowed, I watched it in the locker room. The linesman flagged for a foul but he flagged 10 seconds after the incident. It was a very soft decision, I must say. But again we played an excellent first half, I thought. We totally dominated the game, scored three goals but two were disallowed.
More worrying for Rangnick will be the way his players allowed Burnley back into the game as their own performance levels dipped at the start of the second half.
In the second half, for the first 10 to 15 minutes, we were just not aggressive enough. It was clear they would come out after the break in a more aggressive way to play but we were not aggressive in those 15 minutes. We gave away the goal.
“We had a very good counter-attacking situation 30 seconds before we conceded the goal and the way that we allowed them to score, we did not defend the whole situation well.
“At the end, it is a frustrating evening for us because we should have won that game easily after the first half and even the last 25 minutes we had full control and dominated the game but were not decisive enough as we were in the first half.
“I could not blame the team for not having a killer instinct in the first half but in the last 25 minutes we had a lot of set pieces.
“In the end, it was a little bit a case of luck with Raphael Varane, the header by Cristiano, Harry Maguire, but in the end one point for a performance like this is just not enough.”
Can Burnley beat the drop?
It was a moment of magic from Weghorst that turned the game.
Rodriguez’s finish was cute but the build-up play from Weghorst was even better, twisting and turning away from Maguire before having the awareness to feed his strike partner.
The Netherlands international almost put Burnley ahead soon after with David de Gea needing to claw away his fierce shot from distance. He has the quality to help save Burnley.
‘Outstanding’ Weghorst is man of the match
“I thought the big centre forward did very well,” Paul Merson told Sky Sports News.
“I thought he was outstanding.
“He reminded me a bit of a Peter Crouch. He had some great touches, he had great awareness and he brought other players into the game.”
Dyche insists ‘there is a belief’ at Burnley
“I just reminded them of the belief I have in them,” said Dyche when asked what changed in that second half.
“We were too direct in the first half and we had to change. Second half we were trying to progress, trying to be on the front foot but also stay defensively organised. I was very pleased with the mix.
“All you can ask as a manager is a reaction and we certainly gave a reaction.
“It is not easy. Clean sheet down at Arsenal. Close but no cigar against Watford and tonight we created a chance against Manchester United and got a point. We don’t want to be too greedy but we want to build on that. There is a belief here.”