England international defender Chris Smalling, 25, scored twice as a first half substitute and helped Manchester United beat Premier League strugglers Burnley 3-1 at Old Trafford. The Red Devils now move up to third in the table, as Southampton slipped down a place from third, with their draw 0-0 at home to West Ham.
Replacement defender Chris Smalling wasted no time in scoring, after coming on as a substitute. He nodded his team into the lead in the sixth minute and only 22 seconds after coming on. But Danny Ings, 22, then netted six minutes later for the visitors. This was Ings' ninth goal of the season, his fifth in six games; he was the most threatening player on the pitch, after Rooney was dropped into a holding midfield role, as Blind was injured. Ings' goal was Burnley's first goal at Old Trafford for 40 years and the visiting spectators were thrilled.
After the opening exchange, when United had made a good start, their performance dropped and was not of the highest order. The hosts were on the back-foot to the resurgent Clarets for long periods of the first-half; the visitors had 10 attempts on goal to United's three, before the interval.
It was Manchester United that could scarcely believe that they were going into the interval with a lead, after Smalling headed another goal in from a di Maria short corner, just before the break. It was 2-1 to the hosts at the half time.
United played better in the second-half although Ings went close to adding another equaliser, only for Spanish international David de Gea to pull off a save after. Only in the 82nd the hosts were able to relax when Dutch striker Robin Van Persie scored a penalty, for a foul on di Maria.
Adnan Januzaj, 20, had a shot cleared off the line in the closing moments by a Burnley defender Jason Shackell.
Overall, it was a rather lucky performance for the Red Devils. As for Burnley, despite their recent good form, they still remain one point adrift of safety with their next match being away to Chelsea. #Football