Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic key as Manchester United go top

Ross Houston
January 13, 2021

Where once there was a steady, lateral line along the top, United's fortunes have been marked by wild fluctuations in recent years; steep rises and sharp falls denoting the symptom of an erratic beat from within.

I know the emotions were running high and the players disagreed with some of the decisions that were made out there, so it was our job to calm them down and focus on the things we can control and we did that.

The signing of Bruno Fernandes shortly after Burnley won 2-0 at Old Trafford almost a year ago in the last meeting between the sides has transformed United's fortunes.

Pogba met a cross from Marcus Rashford with a first-time effort from the edge of the box that deflected off Burnley defender Matt Lowton and through the legs of goalkeeper Nick Pope in the 71st.

"It was a hard-fought three points though, it always is up here".

Paul Pogba celebrating after scoring a goal for Manchester United.

Newcastle's chances of getting back into the game after conceding the penalty were remote considering the team was down to 10 men at that point following the 45th-minute sending-off of winger Ryan Fraser for two yellow cards.

"It's a brilliant position to be in", said a smiling Solskjaer, whose future as manager had been under threat just a few months ago after a slow start to the season and group stage exit from the Champions League. "We are in good shape, good form, hungry, these boys want to get better and that's a test again".

"It is [big] and you know even for us and the fans it is great, but there is a long way to go".

The video assistant referee provided the main talking point of a tense opening period, with Burnley's last man, Robbie Brady, avoiding sanction for bringing down Edinson Cavani outside the area because of a foul by United left back Luke Shaw moments earlier at the other end.

Everton won despite being without 14-goal top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin and fellow forward Richarlison because of injury.

United are now top of the table after 17 games; three points clear of Liverpool. "Our heads are focused on the league and we need to keep it up and keep going".

But Chris Wilder's men ensured they will not set an unwanted record by going a full top-flight season without a win thanks to another night to forget for Newcastle.

The Magpies could yet find themselves dragged into a relegation battle as they remain eight points above the drop zone in 15th, but have played two games more than Fulham in 18th.

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