Manchester United failed to beat Burnley in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, despite having 37 shots on goal and effectively controlling the game. Tom Heaton, the former United Academy graduate was one of the reasons that United failed to find the back of the net with another former Academy player Michael Keane being another with his resolute defensive display. United seemed to have chance after chance, with the other stand-out play of the match coming from the woodwork with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata having occasions where their attempts would be thwarted, not only by Heaton and his teammates. Ander Herrera was sent off for two bookable offences and manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands after protesting with the fourth official for a penalty not being awarded after Matteo Darmian was taken down inside the box. It was a good display by the home side, and luck was not present, which is something that has been missing for some time.
With Mourinho being sent to the stands and with a charge from the FA coming in a few days time, Mourinho sent his assistant Rui Faria to speak to the media after the 0-0 draw, which will most likely have been something he got charged for again, as he would have been asked about the officials, who did not have a good match, which seems to be something that is happening a lot this season, not only for Manchester United, but for many teams in the league this season.
“I think we were the better team on the pitch. We controlled the match, even with 10 men, I think you couldn’t feel there was one player less [when Ander Herrera was sent off] because of the mentality, the attitude, the concentration, the belief and the fight of the players. People could see that they gave everything until the last second and that is a very difficult thing to build. In this moment, we have that in this team. We need to congratulate the players for their fight and for their belief, for their will and desire to win. They did it until the last second. We are not happy. We created a lot of chances, we couldn’t score. It is important to score and we didn’t, but we created. If we don’t create then we should be more worried. We did very well. We tried and we are not happy. I repeat, the players were fantastic, they did a great job and they deserve to be congratulated.”
“You always believe. When the best player on the pitch is their goalkeeper, you always believe that a minimum of one goal will happen but it didn’t happen. We need to keep going, to keep fighting and the players need to keep believing because this is the way, with the right mentality and the right approach to every match. The results will come and we will have better days.”
“It was hard. You are fighting since the first second to get the result. We showed that. We controlled the game, we were dominant. With 10 men we kept doing the same, fighting for the same objective and we can’t ask more from the players because they were fantastic.”
“Football is a little bit like this. There are moments when you create so many chances and the ball doesn’t go in. You can’t score a goal. There are moments when you create one or two chances and you score. But I think it is important to say that when we play well, when we believe and when we create so many chances then good things will happen. The goals will start coming and this is what we need to believe. The boys deserve more than what happened today. We will have better days for sure and happy days but, again, I want to congratulate all of them because they were fantastic.”
“He caught it really well. I tried to close the space down and spread myself as best as I could. Thankfully, today it hit the end of my arm, it was a sore one on the elbow because it was fully extended but it never quite hurts as much when you keep it out.:
“We came with a game plan and that was there was all to see. But I thought we did it well, there were a lot of opportunities, there was a lot of attacking play from United but we put our bodies on the line. The heart and desire from our lads was incredible. Not many teams come away from Old Trafford with a point and a clean sheet so we are delighted.”
“I think they played well. There are a lot of top quality players in there. We just managed to defend the box, block that final little pass and disrupt them a little bit which can be difficult. We have all been there when we’re trying to break teams down. I think we managed to keep them out today and it is great for us, but a touch frustrating for them.”
Before the match, it was revealed that Antonio Valencia suffered an injury in the victory over Manchester City in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. The Ecuadorian right-back had surgery to his arm today, which will keep him on the sidelines for a number of weeks, which has not yet been confirmed. United will most likely miss the in-form right-back, who has played tremendously over the past few weeks. Matteo Darmian played ahead of Valencia against Burnley, and will most likely feature in that position for the foreseeable future in a bid to cement the position as his own unless Jose Mourinho has any other ideas. Speaking before the match, Mourinho said:
“Antonio is having surgery today. He has a fracture in his arm. With Michael Carrick, the decision was to play with only two midfield players and also thinking about the next match against Fenerbahce [on Thursday].
“The problem for us is having injuries all in the same area with [Eric] Bailly, [Chris] Smalling and Valencia. They were the three players that start almost every match in the Premier League and now we have lost all three in the same period.
“But that’s football and it’s an opportunity for others to play. We trust Darmian and we trust Marcos Rojo to have a positive influence.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche spoke about the form of his goalkeeper Tom Heaton before praising Jose Mourinho’s side, giving insight into why he feels the Portuguese manager will be successful, saying:
“Tom is in very good form and I keep reminding him that we kept him quiet for so long last season when we won promotion, so he has been saving up those saves.
“It is difficult because, even when your defenders play well, at this level of the market, with opposition players as good as these at United, they will probe you and find different ways to hurt you.
“Personally I thought they were first class, Man United, and they will be okay. I think there is a top-class group of players there. They opened us up, they looked at us, they crossed it, they probed, they tried to play clever in the box and they are a top side, in my opinion.
“I personally think, as a manager, that I should give credit to them because they just never stopped trying to win the game.”
Manchester United need to find the solution to better their situation this season. Not winning in the Premier league since the 4-1 victory over Leicester City, drawing all but one match since then, the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend, the upcoming UEFA Europa League match away to Fenerbahçe on Thursday will give United some time to find a solution before their visit to Swansea next Sunday, where they must leave Wales with three points in the bag, or suffer a lowly league position, which has seen United fall to eighth in the league, which could see them fall to ninth tomorrow, should Southampton get a result over Chelsea, which may be tough for them.