Date published: Thursday 30th December 2021 11:22 – Dave Tickner
Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick was happy to see an improved performance from his side in a routine 3-1 win over a depleted Burnley side on Thursday night.
United had come in for heavy criticism after a lacklustre 1-1 draw at Burnley’s fellow relegation battlers Newcastle last time out, but there can be no complaints this time as three goals in the first 35 minutes set United on their way to a comfortable success.
Scott McTominay opened the scoring with a fine early strike from the edge of the box before a low Jadon Sancho shot deflected in off Burnley captain Ben Mee and Cristiano Ronaldo made it three, turning home after McTominay’s strike was superbly tipped on to a post by Wayne Hennessey.
The back-up goalkeeper impressed, with Nick Pope among several positive Covid-19 cases in the Burnley camp, as did Aaron Lennon as he capped a fine display with a quality effort before half-time to reduce the arrears.
Asked if he had seen an improvement, Rangnick told Prime Video: “Yes, I think so.
“It was, as expected, a very tough and difficult game against a team who play very physical and very direct. We knew that in advance, so the important part was that we met the physical demands and also the tactical demands.
“Whenever the ball was in their half, we did well. We also showed the qualities that we have in our team when it was important to score.
“In our half, we still have a few things to improve on and we will work on that, but again it was important today to raise the energy level and physically and energetically, it was a good performance.”
Asked if had felt the need to address the criticism of his team’s attitude against the Magpies, Rangnick added: “No, definitely not today.
“But of course it always had to do with the chronology of the game. When you’re after seven minutes at Newcastle 1-0 down against a counter-attacking team, I doesn’t make things any easier.
“But today, we went one, two, three-nil ahead, so it was easier for us with regard to the way the game developed.”
Rangnick also revealed he has not even spoken about the possibility of strengthening the squad he inherited from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the January window.
He said: “My focus is on the current players. As I said, we have enough players in the squad, so there is no lack of number of players.
“Transfers in the winter only make sense if they really help you, if they increase the quality. So far, we haven’t spoken about that. My focus in the last couple of weeks was on the current squad.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was disappointed to see his side concede three times in the opening 35 minutes but happy with the way they responded in adversity.
Dyche told Amazon Prime: “We’ve been here a number of times and we’ve had a couple of big results here and we haven’t had anywhere near the amount of ball, nowhere near the chances we had in tonight’s game.
“The frustrating thing for me, we could have made two blocks on the edge of the box and we didn’t. They react on one of them and get a goal.
“It’s hard, obviously, when you’re at Old Trafford and they’re 3-0 up, but I thought the mentality was firm and in the second half we took the game on to try to get something from it.”