United 3 Burnley 0
DIMITAR Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and youngster Mame Biram Diouf struck against Burnley to ease the pressure on embattled Manchester United. Off the field United are facing harsh criticism over their financial predicament, but it was back to business as usual on the pitch with victory over the Clarets. Berbatov made the breakthrough thanks to a deflected effort on 64 minutes, and a neat finish from Rooney doubled the advantage shortly after. Substitute Diouf then scored his first United goal late on to seal the win. The result means United stay a point behind leaders Chelsea - who thumped Sunderland 7-2 - having played a game more. Chants of We want the Glazers out from the Stretford End emphasised the debt mountain being carried by the Reds For a long time it looked as though it was hanging round the players' necks too. A first appearance on home soil since that dismal FA Cup defeat to League One Leeds offered an ideal opportunity to allay a few fears. Instead, concerns just grew. Although United dominated possession, it was not until the final minutes of the half, when Nani's overhead kick was clawed behind by Brian Jensen that the Reds looked as though they might score. Rooney worked hard as usual and had a couple of chances, while Antonio Valencia and Patrice Evra threatened danger from wide positions. Berbatov was again a disappointment though. He may now be a six-time Bulgarian player of the year but the 28-year-old remains an enigmatic presence. There was no sign of a knee injury as he rose to meet decent crosses from either flank that he could not direct on target and he lacked conviction when he tried to turn home a low Valencia ball drilled into the six-yard box. Neville reaction Gary Neville's angry reaction to a perceived lack of movement would not have done much for Berbatov's confidence either, although the dent would not have been as big as the one inflicted on United had Steven Fletcher made more of the opening period's best chance. Eager to make an impression against his former club, Chris Eagles started the move with a precise pass to David Nugent. Far too easily, the United defence had been completely opened up. Nugent lifted the ball over Neville and set Fletcher racing through on Edwin van der Sar, making his comeback after a 12-match absence. Fletcher went for the far corner but could only turn away in frustration as his shot rolled narrowly wide. There was no better example of the frustration surrounding Berbatov than the one just before the hour mark when he produced a brilliant piece of close control to turn onto Valencia's cross then, from six yards, drilled his shot wide when it seemed easier to score. If Nugent had made them pay immediately afterwards, United would have had no-one to blame but themselves. However, after latching onto Eagles' pass and outpacing Gary Neville, the former Preston striker failed to find the target. It proved to be a costly miss as United immediately enjoyed their pivotal five-minute purple patch. First Berbatov's shot flicked past a startled Jensen off the base of Michael Duff's foot to break the deadlock. Then Rooney collected the rebound after Berbatov had been denied by the Burnley keeper and, after taking a while to steady himself, eventually drilled home. Diouf nodded Valencia's cross past the onrushing Jensen to complete the scoring although by then, minds were even turning away from the debt and towards Manchester City and to Tuesday's blockbuster Carling Cup semi-final. What is your verdict on the game? Have your say.
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