Mason Greenwood scored twice as Manchester United saw off Burnley to close the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to eight points.
The 19-year-old watched his thumping opener after the break cancelled out moments later when James Tarkowski rose above Harry Maguire to level.
But Greenwood scored his second with six minutes remaining with a fierce left-footed strike that deflected beyond goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell at the front post.
Edinson Cavani then tapped in from close range in stoppage time to wrap up the victory at Old Trafford.
The visitors’ direct attacking play had caused United problems of their own and they had the ball in the net after 14 seconds.
Chris Wood beat goalkeeper Dean Henderson to a floated delivery on the edge of the penalty area and headed into an empty net, only to be correctly flagged offside.
It means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are now eight points behind leaders City in second place with six games to play, while Burnley remain 17th and six points above the relegation zone.
Can United do the unthinkable?
“Can we catch City?” said boss Solskjaer beforehand. “Stranger things have happened in football. Bigger leads have been given away.”
The Norwegian first arrived at Old Trafford the summer after Sir Alex Ferguson’s outfit had overturned a 12-point deficit to pip Newcastle to the title in 1996.
Solskjaer’s own side trailed leaders Manchester City by 14 points last month but have now reduced that to eight with six games to play – the same advantage United boasted when City fought back to win the title on a dramatic final day in 2012.
Had United started the season better the title race may have been even closer, with the Red Devils having lost just once in their past 26 league games after slipping to three defeats in their first six.
They showed the perseverance and patience needed if they are to mount an unlikely late title charge after leaving it late to beat Burnley on Sunday.
The club changed the seat coverings at Old Trafford from red to black this week to give a greater contrast to the players’ shirts on the pitch but that could not help the hosts in the first half as they lacked fluidity going forward.
Solskjaer turned to Cavani, in place of Fred, at the break and that extra attacking impetus immediately paid off as Marcus Rashford squared the ball to Bruno Fernandes and the Portugal international cleverly dummied the pass to allow Greenwood to fire beyond Peacock-Farrell.
That lead lasted all of 114 seconds as Tarkowski levelled for Sean Dyche’s side from a corner and it looked as if United may be frustrated once again by the Clarets.
But on 84 minutes Greenwood’s deflected effort squeezed into the bottom corner to make him the club’s joint-top scoring teenager in the Premier League with 15 goals, alongside Wayne Rooney.
The experienced Cavani then made sure of the win, tapping in Donny van de Beek’s low pass to seal an important three points.
More to follow.
- 29Wan-BissakaBooked at 26mins
- 17FredSubstituted forCavaniat 45′minutes
- 18Bruno Fernandes
- 10RashfordSubstituted forvan de Beekat 84′minutes
- 1de Gea
- 34van de Beek
- 5TarkowskiBooked at 89mins
- 7GudmundssonSubstituted forRodriguezat 88′minutes
- 4CorkBooked at 57mins
- 8BrownhillSubstituted forVydraat 88′minutes
Match ends, Manchester United 3, Burnley 1.
Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Burnley 1.
Goal! Manchester United 3, Burnley 1. Edinson Cavani (Manchester United) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Donny van de Beek following a fast break.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ashley Westwood (Burnley).
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by James Tarkowski.
Attempt blocked. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Attempt saved. Scott McTominay (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mason Greenwood with a through ball.
James Tarkowski (Burnley) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Donny van de Beek (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by James Tarkowski (Burnley).
Substitution, Burnley. Jay Rodriguez replaces Jóhann Gudmundsson.
Substitution, Burnley. Matej Vydra replaces Josh Brownhill.
Goal! Manchester United 2, Burnley 1. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Paul Pogba following a corner.
Substitution, Manchester United. Donny van de Beek replaces Marcus Rashford.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Charlie Taylor.
Foul by Mason Greenwood (Manchester United).
Dwight McNeil (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
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