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Football Reporting


Mixed feelings for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Manchester United battle to victory over Burnley

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with his team’s clinical finishing in a 3-1 Premier League win over Burnley but unhappy with sloppy defending which could have cost them against the battling visitors on Sunday.

United were let off the hook after just 13 seconds, when an untimely rush by Dean Henderson allowed Burnley striker Chris Wood to head the ball home over the goalkeeper, but his effort was ruled out for a marginal offside.

Mason Greenwood gave the home side a 48th-minute lead but they switched off and were punished two minutes later as James Tarkowski levelled with a simple header, with United’s static defence failing to clear a corner.

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“Disappointed we conceded straight away,” Solskjaer told the BBC. “We knew there’d be long balls, win the first one, win the second one and stop the ball into the box. The delivery was great and we had to work hard again.

“First one is a wake-up call for (Henderson), he’s a proactive keeper and luckily (Wood) was offside so another win and Dean is still learning and maturing.”

Fortunately for Solskjaer, Greenwood restored United’s lead in the 84th minute with a heavily deflected shot before Cavani sealed United’s win with a close-range tap in after a flowing move which started on the edge of their penalty area.

The result left second-placed United eight points behind leaders Manchester City with six games remaining and Solskjaer was realistic in assessing that his side had only a slim chance of overhauling their arch rivals in the home straight.

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Instead, he stressed staying in form in the Premier League with a top-four finish in sight would help United’s goal of winning the Europa League as they face AS Roma in the semi-finals.

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“Very happy with three points, we haven’t beaten Burnley here since 2015. Good result, five wins on the bounce, that’s good form,” he told Sky Sports.

We’ve always said this year has to be progress and improvement, we’ve got as many points as last season and then if we get some more, we’ve got more than last season and that’s progress.

“We want to finish with a trophy in the Europa League, we’ve got loads of games and loads to focus on.”

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