By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – MANCHESTERUNITED 2 BURNLEY 2
Dec 26 (Reuters)- Substitute Jesse Lingard struck twice in as Manchester United fought back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 Premier League draw with Burnley at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
While Lingard’s goals avoided a shock home loss, the result hardly helped United in the big picture, leaving them trailing leaders Manchester City by 12 points ahead of their rivals’ game at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
“We should have won. I take satisfaction by the way the team played, by the way the team reacted, to try to recover from 2-0 down,” United manager Jose Mourinho told reporters.
“The boys they fought against the 2-0 at halftime, so (I have) nothing at all negative to say about my players. I praise their spirit, their recation, the way they accept all the risks we took in the second half,” he added.
Seventh-placed Burnley grabbed a surprise third-minute lead when, after a goalmouth scramble, Ashley Barnes fired home from close range and it could have been 2-0 when Scott Arfield’s volley clipped the top of the bar.
United piled on plenty of pressure in response with a long-range effort from Luke Shaw parried out by Nick Pope and Charlie Taylor clearing the danger.
Burnley doubled their lead, though, in glorious fashion, in the 36th minute thanks to a superb curling free kick from 30 yards by Belgian midfielder Steven Defour which beat the diving David De Gea.
United responded positively and Burnley skipper Ben Mee had to clear a Marcus Rashford effort off the line – an indication of what was to follow after the break.
Mourinho made a double substitution at the interval, bringing on Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and taking off Zlatan Ibrahimovic and defender Marcos Rojo.
With just Phil Jones staying back in defence, United threw everything at the Clarets and Lingard got the home side back in the game with a clever back-heel flick, from a low Ashley Young cross, in the 53rd minute.
Mourinho’s side totally dominated the second half but were frustrated by a sturdy Burnley defence until Lingard drove home the equaliser in stoppage time.
The late leveller left Burnley manager Sean Dyche with mixed feelings but he was proud of the way a makeshift defence had coped with the intense pressure.
“A lot of pride in a team that is stretched at the moment. The gameplan is you’re going to have to defend and do all of the ugly details of the game well. We scored early, we didn’t relax on that, we scored again. Second half they dominated a lot more. To come out with a point is pleasing,” he said.
(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond)