At times, United were mediocre, at times they were awful, but at no time were they brilliant.
- Manchester United 3-0 Burnley: As it happened
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Although the Red Devilss scored three second-half goals, Burnley missed three gilt-edged chances and also hit the United woodwork twice in front of new manager Brian Laws.
The United fans' chants of 'we want the Glazers out' seemed to sum up the difficult financial situation the champions are facing.
It took United until first-half injury time to get a shot on target - Luis Nani's speculative overhead kick being palmed behind by Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen.
United's next real chance was to bring their opening goal in the 64th minute.
Nani found Dimitar Berbatov on the left side of the Clarets area and the Bulgarian's left-foot shot from ten yards found the far corner of the net courtesy of Michael Duff's leg.
The home side were 2-0 ahead five minutes later from the best move of the match.
Paul Scholes found Anderson on the right edge of the penalty area and his back flick was collected by Berbatov, who turned the ball on to Wayne Rooney.
Rooney feinted to shoot, let the ball run on and then fired his right-foot shot into the bottom right corner of the net from 12 yards.
United's third goal came from new boy Mame Biram Diouf, who ghosted in on the blind side of the Burnley defence to head Antonio Valencia's long ball from the right over Jensen and into the net from the edge of the box a minute into injury time.
But it could have been so much different if Burnley had put away a golden opportunity in the seventh minute.
Former United winger Chris Eagles sent David Nugent clear down the right. His pass found Steven Fletcher free on the left side of the box, but he fired wide from 12 yards.
Nugent missed an even easier chance on the hour when he outstripped Gary Neville for pace, but flicked his shot narrowly wide of a post from eight yards.
In the 84th minute, Stephen Jordan crossed from the left and Burnley substitute Steven Thompson headed the ball against post from six yards.
A minute later, Tyrone Mears was denied by a superb point-blank save from United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, after being put clear in the United box by Graham Alexander's pass.
Then, in the dying seconds, van der Sar palmed a Mears free-kick from the right corner of the box on to a post and Neville cleared the rebound.