Burnley leave United All Shook Up - Manchester United 0, Burnley 2: Chris Boden's match verdict
The last time Burnley won at Old Trafford, Elvis Presley was at the top of the UK singles chart with ‘She’s Not You’.
It was September 1962, as future United star John Connelly hit a hat-trick for the Clarets.
Almost 58 long years later, the Clarets left the Red Devils ‘All Shook Up’, as Sean Dyche added another famous scalp to his long list of milestones as Burnley boss.
He’s beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – one of three wins over defending Premier League champions – drawn at Anfield, held Spurs at Wembley, and ended numerous hoodoos – most notably turning 35 years of hurt against Blackburn into a seven-game unbeaten run, spanning 10 years and counting against the old enemy.
Throw in two promotions, one as champions, and a return to European competition, and there aren’t many more landmarks left for Dyche to set.
But they don’t call Old Trafford the Theatre of Dreams for nothing, and victory at Manchester United is a pretty high new entry in terms of his historical markers.
United may be, despite holding on to fifth place in the Premier League, in the midst of their poorest run of form since Sir Alex Ferguson came notoriously close to losing his job 30 years ago.
Regardless, this was only the Reds’ second home defeat of the season in the league, and the manner of victory was all the more impressive.
When Jay Rodriguez’s goal of the season candidate made it 2-0, it was the third-successive season Burnley had held a two-goal advantage at Old Trafford.
The previous two occasions, you always felt United would come back – they always do.
And they twice retrieved a point in 2-2 draws.
On Wednesday night, however, Burnley showed all their experience, managing the game to a successful conclusion with little in the way of concern.
United may have had 24 shots in total, but you didn’t feel Nick Pope’s goal would be breached.
So, from earning a first win of the season against a side currently in the top half on Sunday, they quickly backed that up with a second.
And having won only one of their last 30 games against the ‘Big Six’ sides – at home to Spurs last season – little old Burnley created memories that will last a lifetime at Old Trafford.
Before Sunday, with Burnley only two points clear of Aston Villa in 18th, there was genuine concern of Dyche’s side being dragged into a fight for survival.
What a difference a week makes.
Burnley now sit on 30 points with 14 games to play, seven clear of the drop zone, and, remarkably, only four points behind United in fifth!
This game, and this team, never cease to amaze.
As I wrote after the defeat at Chelsea, when murmurs of discontent among the Burnley fanbase were growing, “It would be brave to back against this manager and his group of players getting things right eventually, getting the necessary points to ensure a fifth-successive Premier League season, and sixth in seven.”
I also wrote “that ‘edge’ or ‘eye of the tiger’ as Dyche likes to say has been elusive at times”.
But it has come back with a vengeance.
They may have had to ride their luck at times against Leicester, but Burnley pressed with purpose and few could begrudge them their fortune, as Nick Pope prevented Jamie Vardy making it 2-1 from the penalty spot, before Ashley Westwood’s late winner.
On Wednesday night, no one could deny they deserved the points.
They gave United little time to breathe in possession, despite them enjoying 78% of the ball.
They kept United largely in wide areas, and when the ball did come in the box, Ben Mee and James Tarkowski were like magnets, attracted to it.
They shut off passing lanes, won back possession time and again, and showed a real clinical edge with their chances.
After a couple of scares, with Anthony Martial and Juan Mata failing to make the most of more than passable opportunities, before Charlie Taylor prevented Martial scoring with a quite brilliant challenge, they took the lead six minutes before the break.
Burnley had failed to score a first-half goal in their past 11 Premier League matches, and were on target to match the run they endured in 2015 when they were relegated.
However, they look a threat from set pieces against any side, and when Westwood’s diagonal ball was hung up, Mee again won a key header, and Wood slammed a half-volley in at the near post.
It may have flown in off his shin, but, as Dyche said afterwards, credit his anticipation and timing.
For the Kiwi, it was his 10th Premier League goal of the season – the third season running he has hit that mark.
And 11 minutes into the second half, after Rodriguez swapped passes with Wood, he smashed a magnificent 20-yard rocket past David De Gea, in off the bar at the near post.
Burnley have scored some picture book goals at the Stretford End over the last few years – Danny Ings, Steven Defour – but this was right up there.
The question was whether Burnley could hang on this time, but that they did, with great composure and clarity.