The Red Devils laboured past stubborn opponents as they continued their rise up the domestic ladder
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed his side’s ability to “grind out results” after the Red Devils survived a flurry of late Burnley chances to triumph 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
Anthony Martial scored his third goal in two games one minute before half-time to put United ahead in a game they dominated for long periods, but hosts Burnley heaped pressure on David De Gea’s goal in the final 15 minutes at Turf Moor.
A late United break produced a second goal when Daniel James played in Marcus Rashford for his 12th Premier League strike of the season and clinched a result that moved the Red Devils up to fifth in the table, just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Solskjaer admitted his players should have put the game to bed sooner but praised their performance following back-to-back victories, describing himself as “very happy”.
“In the first half I thought we were very good,” Solskjaer said. “We controlled it, dominated it, scored a nice goal. Second half of course there’s going to be a couple of instances in your box because they’re desperate to get a goal and throwing men forward.
“We could have finished the game off really, we had some great counter-attacking chances. We should have got the second goal earlier but there was some great defending.
“It’s important for us to know that we can grind out results as well, even though when you score one you don’t always win. If we can get clean sheets we’ve got a chance to move up the table.”
United travel to Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal on New Year’s Day and Solskjaer called for his players to maintain the momentum that has helped them go nine matches with just one defeat in all competitions – a 2-0 reverse at Watford on December 22.
With Martial and Rashford hitting form, United will be widely backed to get a result against an Arsenal side adapting to life with a new head coach Mikel Arteta at the helm.
Solskjaer said his forwards must be less wasteful than they were against Burnley, adding: “You’re always kicking yourself when you don’t take your chances. There were so many great counter-attacking opportunities, when we made wrong decisions or were a little bit too slow to get the finish off, but it was an excellent performance.
“Let’s see what we do against Arsenal. We want to keep that momentum going. Two wins after a disappointing game against Watford. Happy with that. Good response. The boys are learning.”