It has been a long week for Manchester United fans. After two defeats in a row, the reds are back in action on Sunday when they visit Turf Roof to face Burnley. The pressure is firmly on Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. The objective is simple: they must win on Sunday to get the feel good factor back at Old Trafford.
Similarly, it has been a tough start to the new campaign for Burnley fans too with just one point from the opening three games. Like United, they will be eager to bounce back from their defeat against Fulham with a positive result to get some much needed points on the board.
Hi guys. What have you made of Burnley’s start to the new campaign?
Mike: Hello Jimmy. It has not been good, to be honest; it has been a difficult start. Our season started at the end of July, two weeks after the World Cup ended. In the Europa league qualifiers, some of our players were injured and by the time the Premier League started, I thought we just looked a bit jaded. Nevertheless, that is no excuse as to why we lost to Watford and Fulham. I just think we weren’t good enough on either day. In addition, there was a lack of signings this summer, which doesn’t help; and I think Sean Dyche has eluded to that.
Natalie: Hi Jimmy. Mixed reactions. We haven’t performed as well as we would have liked in the league, albeit the point away at Southampton was a good one. The Europa League adventure was so so so very exciting, and I am devastated to be out of it. I wanted us to make the group stages, but we got very unlucky with the draws and faced three really tough teams. For once, I think we are probably looking forward to the international break; time to re-group, re-focus and assess our horrible injury crisis.
What is the expectation of Burnley fans this season?
Mike: The expectation is to stay up. 17th will do us. A top 10 finish is a bonus. We won’t reach the heights of 7th with the current squad.
Natalie: Same as it always is; safety first, then see how far we can finish up the league. And if we can get a decent FA Cup run in, great.
What have you made of Manchester United so far?
Mike: Manchester United have had a difficult start to the Premier League campaign. It doesn’t help that it’s been a frustrating transfer window for them (like Burnley in some ways). Jose Mourinho couldn’t get the players he wanted signed this summer. Having said that, I think once they get a couple of wins, they’ll get into the Champions League positions.
Natalie: On paper, the results are very disappointing, but the biggest concern has to be that the flair, style and swagger we are so used to seeing from the Utd brand has gone under Mourinho. I don’t watch them any more; they aren’t that entertaining (sorry Utd fans!)
Moving on to the game, what do you expect from both teams?
Mike: I expect Man Utd to boss the game on Sunday. I think Burnley are in for a busy afternoon. However, Burnley will feel that they have a chance following the 1-1 draw against Olympiacos. The performance was very good and I think Burnley will carry on from that.
Natalie: It is a game between two sides who cannot really lose. It could go either way, to be honest. If Mourinho plays Fellaini and all of the strong, physical players then we will struggle to break you down. If you get two sides who want to play very safe, it will be a terribly dull 0-0. If either side goes for it, we could see a goal-fest!
Do you think Jose Mourinho has lost his magic; or can he turn this around?
Mike: No. Jose Mourinho is still an excellent manager. You don’t lose your magic, in my opinion. Lets not forget that less than two years ago, he won a European trophy with Manchester United. The Europa League and The Champions League are still very difficult competitions to win.
Natalie: He lost his magic a long time ago! I expect him to be the first PL manager to be sacked this year.
Tactically, what can Utd expect from Burnley?
Mike: Burnley will either play a rigid 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. If its 4-4-2, Westwood and Cork will be in the middle of a two man midfield, with Barnes and Wood in attack. Should they set up in a 4-5-1, Jeff Hendrick will be in behind Chris Wood. With Man Utd having more of the ball, Burnley will play the long ball to the attackers. Burnley tend to play deep when out of possession, playing with two banks of 4 in a 4-4-2. In a 4-5-1 they go 4-6-0.
Natalie: Pretty much what you always expect to see from us; we will be solid defensively, play very tight and direct then try and nick a goal. This Dyche side isn’t known for being high-scoring, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try and win. We just win safely.
Finally, what is your score prediction?
Mike: I think it could be a draw. Perhaps a 0-0 or a 1-1. However, I have just got a feeling Man Utd will win 2-1!
Natalie: It’s a tough one to call. If 0-0 isn’t to be, then 1-0 to the Clarets (have to back my own, don’t I?!).