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1718 burnley turf moor 07 1000x500Manchester United are our visitors tomorrow and they will be our last Sunday opponents brought about because of our Europa League exploits following Thursday night’s exit against Olympiacos.

Some will think it a good thing that, domestic cups apart, we just have the Premier League to consider but I remain totally disappointed that we went out of Europe last Thursday although I am looking forward to tomorrow’s game.

It is true that we’ve hardly got our Premier League season up and running yet. The fully deserved point at Southampton three weeks ago remains our only point and Huddersfield’s draw at Everton today means we have dropped to 19th in the table with just that one point from the first three games.

There are no easy games in this league but tomorrow’s is one of the toughest, one of the top six teams who generally get good results at Turf Moor. I know four of them have lost Premier League games at Burnley but Liverpool were the last to lose over two years ago and last season we did pick up only one home point against them, that a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.

One young player who might be hoping to get some game time tomorrow is Dwight McNeil. He was with the Manchester United academy until 2014 when he made the move to Burnley. He’s progressed through the junior teams and last season was a regular member of the under-23s despite still being young enough to play in the youth team.

He ended last season with a short time on the pitch against Bournemouth and this season has become a member of the first team squad. He got over half an hour against Aberdeen in the Europa League game at home and two days ago started against Olympiacos and left to a standing ovation 15 minutes from the end so well he played.

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“It was a dream come true to start my first game in the first team and hopefully in the future I can have more experiences like that,” he said. He added: “It’s great to have been around the lads and learning from them and they were a massive help to me last night. And the crowd as well. It was so good to have them behind us which gives that bit of extra confidence.”

He ended by saying: “It’s been great to have played in Europe and hopefully I can kick on this year and get a few more minutes in the Premier League as well.”

I’m expecting him to be in the match day squad but not sure whether he’ll get a start. If he does though, he’ll be the first player to have come through the youth team to start a league game since Jay Rodriguez and, incredibly, the first to come through and start a top flight game since Joe Jakub in April 1976.

With Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson now having joined Nick Pope, Steven Defour and Robbie Brady on the injured list, it does leave us short of wide players somewhat although I do suspect we might start tomorrow with Charlie Taylor in the advanced position although I’d love to see Dwight start.

We could line up: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Aaron Lennon, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Chris Wood. Subs from: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Dwight McNeil, Matěj Vydra, Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes.

Having ended last season in second place behind only their noisy neighbours, Manchester United were probably expecting to make a better start to the season than they have. They kicked off with an opening win against Leicester, beating them 2-1 at Old Trafford in the first Premier League game of the season but they’ve since been beaten twice, losing 3-2 at Brighton and then suffering a 3-0 defeat at home to Spurs last Monday.

It has supposedly put manager Jose Mourinho under pressure but he’s been at his belligerent best this week. “I am the manager of one of the greatest clubs in the world but I am also one of the greatest managers in the world.” No longer just the special one, he’s now one of the greatest.

He’ll have to go into tomorrow’s game without the services of the injured Phil Jones who was injured in the Spurs defeat. He also confirmed that Sergio Romero and Diogo Dalot will play in the under-23s while Marcos Rojo is back in training but not ready to play as yet.

They lined up against Spurs: David de Gea, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones (Victor Lindelof), Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic (Marouane Fellaini), Fred, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera (Alexis Sánchez 55), Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku. Subs not used: Lee Grant, Ashley Young, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

We played Manchester United twice in quick succession last season. We drew 2-2 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day with the return game coming just three and a half weeks later and it was United who won the points at Turf Moor for a second successive season.

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In an uneventful first half, neither side really tested the goalkeeper and the first real entertainment came during the half time interval from opera singer Sean Ruane.

Unfortunately, just nine minutes into the second half, United scored the only goal of the game, Anthony Martial finishing when played in from the right by Romelu Lukaku.

We gave it a real go after that. David de Gea saved well from Ben Mee. James Tarkowski was inches away from converting a cross and then saw a header blocked but it just wouldn’t come and it all ended in a third successive defeat.

The teams were;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Steven Defour, Jack Cork, Scott Arfield (Georges-Kévin NKoudou 81), Jeff Hendrick (Sam Vokes 81), Ashley Barnes (Nahki Wells 89). Subs not used: Anders Lindegaard, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ashley Westwood.

Manchester United: David de Gea, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata (Marouane Fellaini 72), Jesse Lingard (Marcus Rashford 80), Anthony Martial (Ander Herrera 90+4), Romelu Lukaku. Subs not used: Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay.

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