2016/2017 English Premier League
  • Anthony Martial (21')
  • Wayne Rooney (39')

Wayne Rooney strikes as Manchester United win at Burnley

Manchester United cruised to a routine victory at Burnley to move to within a point of fourth-placed Manchester City.

United boss Jose Mourinho made eight changes from the Europa League victory over Anderlecht, among them the return of David De Gea in goal and only Wayne Rooney's second start of 2017.

Burnley, meanwhile, replaced the injured Sam Vokes with Andre Gray, who got an early telling-off from referee Anthony Taylor when his clattering challenge left United midfielder Paul Pogba in a heap.

That set the tone for a scrappy opening few minutes, but United fashioned the first move of any note -- and it should have given them a ninth-minute lead.

Anthony Martial got down the left and crossed low into the penalty area and the ball fell to the returning Rooney, who stabbed it goalwards but straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Visiting midfielder Marouane Fellaini then repeated the trick, heading too close to the keeper after 12 minutes.

Rooney set the ball back for Pogba on the edge of the area a couple of minutes later as United dominated, but the France international's shot cannoned back off a defender.

Jeff Hendrick produced the first moment of threat for the hosts, cutting into the penalty area and crossing low towards Gray, with the ball being cleared and Ben Mee heading over from the resulting corner.

After 18 minutes Jesse Lingard raced into the Burnley half and played the ball out to Rooney on the left, with the England man's mis-hit cross landing on top of Heaton's goal.

But United broke through in style after 21 minutes when, after a Robbie Brady cross was cleared, Anthony Martial raced forward before playing the ball to Ander Herrera on the right. Herrera's low return pass returned the ball to Martial, who steered his finish wide of Heaton.

As Burnley tried to hit back, Brady picked out Josh Lowton on the right, but his low cross skipped through to De Gea.

And United deservedly doubled their lead after 39 minutes when Martial was found by a fine Pogba pass after Brady had given the ball away. Although the France forward was denied by Heaton, Rooney was on hand to prod home from an angle.

Gray almost reduced the arrears as half-time approached, but his effort was blocked and scrambled away for a corner, which was headed down by Mee only for the striker to miss his kick.

Burnley had to replace defender Mee, who had suffered an ankle problem, with James Tarkowski coming on in his place as the second half got under way.

United were happy to keep possession in a low-key opening, but Pogba nearly added a third goal after 53 minutes when his fierce effort was beaten away by Heaton.

Burnley were still struggling to muster much attacking threat of their own, and boss Sean Dyche tried to do something about it by bringing on Johann Berg Gudmundsson for George Boyd.

Gray got the better of Daley Blind only to see his low cross cut out before it could reach Ashley Barnes, who soon had another effort blocked as the Clarets began to exert a little pressure.

Rashford came on for Lingard as the game entered its final 20 minutes and Daniel Agyei, a former AFC Wimbledon player, replaced Barnes as Dyche made his final change for Burnley.

Former Manchester United defender Michael Keane headed over from a free kick, but United wound down the clock with no real problems as Mourinho took off Martial and replaced him with Henrickh Mkhitaryan.

Pogba fired a fierce shot wide in the closing moments but limped off soon afterwards, having picked up a knock, and was replaced by Michael Carrick, while Agyei sent a low effort spinning wide at the other end.

English Premier League Standings

1 Manchester City 27 +54 65
2 Liverpool 26 +44 65
3 Tottenham Hotspur 26 +29 60
4 Manchester United 26 +17 51
5 Arsenal 26 +16 50
6 Chelsea 26 +16 50
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 26 +1 39
8 Watford 26 0 37
9 Everton 27 -3 33
10 West Ham United 26 -7 33
11 AFC Bournemouth 26 -10 33
12 Leicester City 26 -3 32
13 Crystal Palace 26 -7 27
14 Brighton & Hove Albion 26 -11 27
15 Burnley 26 -18 27
16 Newcastle United 26 -12 25
17 Cardiff City 26 -23 25
18 Southampton 26 -16 24
19 Fulham 26 -33 17
20 Huddersfield Town 26 -34 11