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Burnley high on emotion

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Phil McNulty | 23:30 UK time, Wednesday, 19 August 2009

"Welcome To Warp Factor 10" was how Burnley chairman Barry Kilby announced the return of top tier football to Turf Moor after an absence of 33 years.

Colourful stuff from lifelong fan Kilby - a successful businessman who has crossed the often hazardous divide between terrace and boardroom - but a billing that was fully justified at the end of an emotional night at Turf Moor.

Burnley's stunning triumph over Premier League champions Manchester United was not simply an emphatic statement of intent by Owen Coyle's team, it was accompanied by an all-out assault on all the senses that made this a truly special night.

When Coyle announced "the whole place was rocking" he was not joking. The James Hargreaves Stand actually shook to sound of celebrations when Robbie Blake's volley ripped past Ben Foster for the first-half winner.

Blake is congratulated by his team-mates after his stunning volley The old place, rich in football history, rocked on its foundations and it was the superstar names of Manchester United who felt the full force as Burnley swiftly banished the memory of defeat at Stoke City on Saturday.

Turf Moor's press box comes complete with glorious views, with what looks like an east Lancashire landscape painting as the backdrop to the action - and with a genuine contender for the loudest public address system in world football, you get the full package.

Such was the desire to sample every part of the Premier League experience after the long wait, match programmes became precious souvenirs. Burnley's announcer revealed - very loudly - that a new print run had been commissioned specially to satisfy the disappointed.

The football is not bad either, with Coyle adhering strictly to the passing game that brought Burnley out of the Championship last season. And even though Sir Alex Ferguson's side predictably spent some time camped in Burnley territory, there was never a sense of siege.

And in two time-served Turf Moor veterans, Burnley had the heroes of a game that will be stamped indelibly on the memory of all the home fans who witnessed it.

Blake, at 33, showed a touch of magic with his winner while 34-year-old keeper Brian Jensen demonstrated why he is cult figure at Burnley, saving Michael Carrick's first-half penalty and cutting a commanding figure as tension mounted in the closing stages.

Wayne Rooney was taunted with chants of "You're Not Robbie Blake" when a shot flew off target, while just about every intervention by Jensen was greeted with the trademark booming cry of "Beast" from Turf Moor.

Manchester United were a desperate disappointment (more of them later) but this was Burnley's night, a night when Coyle added another layer of polish on to his growing reputation as one of the brightest managerial talents in the game.

He delivered a rapid fire blizzard of optimism after the game, laced with the reality that things will not always be this good for Burnley. Dark days may come over the course of a long season, but a marker was placed down amid the tumult of Turf Moor.

Coyle will stand or fall by his passing principles and said: "What we have is belief, quality and an unbelievable work ethic. We will have to produce that in every single game."

He also paid homage to Turf Moor after attention unfairly focused on communal baths and dressing room sizes in the build-up to United's visit, saying: "At times Turf Moor gets a bad rap, with people saying it is ramshackle, and saying it is an old stadium. Well I'm old school - someone who loves that atmosphere and that sort of stadium."

Burnley played with poise when they had the opportunity, passing and moving in line with their manager's mantra, and defending with bravery as exemplified by new signing Andre Bikey's mountainous presence.

For the champions, this was a chastening experience and arguably the first real taste of what life will be like without Cristiano Ronaldo. The danger is that every United defeat will be blamed on Ronaldo's absence, but how United cried out for his pace, width, goalscoring - and even his penalty-taking ability.

Ferguson made six changes from the team that was not totally convincing in victory against Birmingham, giving a first start to Michael Owen.

It was to prove an unfulfilling night for the striker in front of watching England coach Fabio Capello. A few neat touches, a couple of missed chances but a performance that was neither here nor there and one that ended predictably when he was substituted by Dimitar Berbatov just after the hour.

If Owen was hoping to produce compelling evidence that he must be recalled by Capello and be part of England's World Cup plans, it will have to wait for another day.

One defeat is hardly going to send Ferguson into panic, but there was a worrying lack of thrust and cutting edge about United and Burnley were never penned in their own penalty box for sustained periods.

Some experts believe Ronaldo's greatest strength was his ability to punish the lesser teams as they tired - and with all respect to Burnley they would fall into that category - but the tension here came from counting down the clock as opposed to any serious supremacy from United.

Ferguson insists the Old Trafford chequebook has been put away for this transfer window, but you wonder if he will be tempted to flick through his contacts book again on the evidence of the first two games of this season.

For Burnley, the emotions could not have been more contrasting. Fireworks went off in the distance beyond Turf Moor as hundreds of fans gathered on Harry Potts Way an hour after the final whistle.

Burnley's population of a little more than 73,000 is smaller than the average Old Trafford attendance - but this was a night that demonstrated the wonderful unpredictability that still exists in football.

In Turf Moor, the Premier League may have an old-fashioned stage, but on this thrilling evidence it also has a fitting one.

And with this win, Burnley achieved the landmark victory that will inject them with further self-belief and confidence that they can live alongside expensive and experienced company in the Premier League.

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  • Comment number 1.

    "And in Turf Moor, the Premier League may have an old-fashioned stage, but on this thrilling evidence it also has a fitting one."

    Exactly, cogently expressed. The EPL is the best prime league (BPL) and the most entertaining league with tradition.

    Shame to those who champion the Euro Super League.

  • Comment number 2.

    Phil as you say,
    CR7 not only punish the lesser team as they tire
    with pace, with width and his goal scoring finishing ability.
    The dancing prancing twinkle toes also punish teams with his a la carte combo
    'falling' for free kicks &
    dead-ball specials
    A match-day special that will sorely be missed on United's Menu by the 'faithful' who maybe in denial mode.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think it's going to be a tough season for Man Utd.
    I know it's dangerous to write them off, but I think they will struggle to finish 4th. They've just played two games against lowly opposition, scored one goal and looked less than impressive.

  • Comment number 4.

    hahaha... Burnley 1 - 0 Manchester "we wont miss Ronaldo" United hahahahah...... Am laughing but just hope my Aresnal dont become another scalp, and on last nights eveidence Turf Moor will be a tough place to visit, well done Owen Coyle, superb manager and a nice guy it seems.

  • Comment number 5.

    It had to happen....United were poor away from home last season and that trend looks set to continue. Two promoted teams have now shown there's nothing to be scared of, and the fear factor is usually worth 5 or 6 points a season for United. It started with the Inter Milan game last season and continued after Liverpool humbled them on their own ground. Of course, they'll come back, but I don't think this will be their only humiliation this season. Hat's off to Burnley for giving it a go and good luck in the EPL.

  • Comment number 6.

    Wonderful stuff! Burnley beating United? Spurs top of the league? I might be tempted to take an interest this season!

  • Comment number 7.

    howdyneeber. I don't think Arsenal will be a scalp for Burnley this year. They learnt a lesson about taking weak teams to Burnley from last years cup matches. A lesson Man U haven't had.

  • Comment number 8.

    As a United fan I find it quite funny that people are looking down on the club because of this loss and the loss of Ronaldo. He is a great player and will be missed but he is not the reason that Burnley won last night.

    They deserved it due to the way they played their game against a United side that just wasn't up to scratch last night. However the point has been made time and time again that Manchester United nearly always start the season poorly. Look at last season, Ronaldo himself was dreadful and got himself sent off in the early games and a few surprise results were around then as well. Look who won the league at the end of the season. The year before that was very much the same. Just because a newly promoted team beats the champions doesnt mean that the whole season is gone, plenty of 'lower' teams have beaten Manchester United in the past. I think Burnley have a wonderful team and I hope they do well this season. But I don't think people should write off United. Liverpool have always won 1 lost 1, are they in a crisis? Chelsea have started well even with the last gasp win against Hull. Im interested to see how Arsenal play in their next league game because they were fantastic at Everton. Tottenham look a lot better this season. But United are still the team to beat, just wait until the end of the season before making judgements.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am disgusted that Burnley won, don't they know that MU are Gods and that their role was to be plucky losers - they get to be plucky to keep romantics happy, everybody else are just losers. I guarantee that that ref will never be chosen again for not allowing Carrick retake the penalty because the goalkeeper unfairly stopped it - it was unfair because he stopped it, or at least not giving a second one and sending Jensen off just to be on the safe side... I remember the good old days...

  • Comment number 10.

    we need to buy someone!!, i am actually getting worried, that game last night angerd me bigtime!

  • Comment number 11.

    Well done Burnley...

    1 thing I notice though is Coyle always mentions their incredible work ethic.. With a relatively small squad and a long season will this work ethic be replicated every game or is that wishful thinking?

  • Comment number 12.

    Thats a nice piece, Phil. I think Sir ALex is really getting it wrong this time with due respect to him. I think the gamble on Owen was a mistake and somehow it is inhibiting the progress of Macheda who could have come in and change the game yesterday. Bunley did well but we must'nt forget the astonishing start of Hull city last season. This is the premier league, its not a one game fluke. All the same congrats to Owen Coyle for having this fantastic record against the big four.

  • Comment number 13.

    Congrats to Burnley, was great to see and a nice novelty for the Premiership to be slightly unpredictable :) Hopefully Fergie will be humble and accept defeat graciously without blaming the ref. but one game doesn't make a season and I'm sure there will be many ups and downs to come, best luck to Burnley for the rest of the season - I'm sure MU won't need it!

  • Comment number 14.

    United took 18pts off the promoted teams last season, so they're 3 points down already. Liverpool only took 2 in 2 games from Stoke last season so are already a point better off with the away game to come. And Wigan are sure to have a go now Bruce has left, no more charity games for Utd at the JJB. Then, a rampant Arsenal, a resurgent Spurs and a Manchester derby.(games they took maximum points from last season) That 'easy start' doesn't look so easy anymore.By the way, Ronaldo didn't appear in the premier league until 21st September, so had nothing to do with 4 points from 3 games, just like he'll have nothing to do with it this season!

  • Comment number 15.

    This was exactly the sort of situation where Ronaldo would have won them the match. I know that many will say "UTd are more than a one man team" and in many matches that is the case. But they won the title by 4 points last season and Ronaldo was personally responsible for at least that many with his game changing ability. He would have stretched Burnley more and at least (IMO) earned Utd a draw.

    Their frighteningly uncreative midfield has been exposed by both Birmingham and Burnley now. They have 3 points and one scrappy goal from possibly the easiest opening fixtures I have ever seen. They are in grave danger of falling into the trap Liverpool where in under Houllier of being workman like in the middle of the park and solid at the back but lacking the creative spark to open up better defensive units.

  • Comment number 16.

    So on the early indicators of this new season is seems that...

    Liverpool > Stoke
    Stoke > Burnley
    Burnley > Man Utd

    He he he.

    Haven't seen anything so far to convince me against my pre-season predictions that united will be aiming for 3rd place come February.

    With Utd having weakened, Liverppol and Chelsea more or less stayed the same, Arsenal's young squad 'coming of age' and teams like Spurs and Man City having significantly strengthened their teams, looks like being the most wide open and interesting season in years...

  • Comment number 17.

    Makes me laugh! Man U struggle against 2 PROMOTED sides and their fans are still being arrogant! I just cant wait for when they play arsenal! its gona be a delight :) ...maybe then man u fans will tone down the arrogance! ha! Burnley beat Man U the good old days! ;)

  • Comment number 18.

    Is there anyone else of the opinion that while Rooney is clearly United's best striker, Owen's movement along with Berbatov's vision and creative skill would probably be the most effective strike pairing.

    btw Phil... with your blog on Liverpool and now this, is your remit for the season to rub it in whenever one of the big four loses? or is it just coincidence?

  • Comment number 19.

    I guess it was the referee's fault Man U lost, or was it the referee's assistants, or maybe the crowd, they were obviously bias in favour of Burnley. Of course Man U should have had a penalty, Oh that's right they did.

  • Comment number 20.

    I wnt b quick 2 write off united just yet 4 d title by tippin dem for d 4th position and all dat. Yes,d impact of ronaldo will be felt. . . Dribbles,headers free kicks and wat have u. But dnt 4get dey v always started slow in d last few seasons.
    That said,i'm awfully impressed wt spurs. Dey seem 2 have an awfully good squad,which is more dan i can say 4 my team's manager,benitez who keeps overpayin 4 players. . .keane,johnson,aquilani etc

  • Comment number 21.

    There's one sure fix to guarantee that United have a chance to retain the title. Didn't SAF wistfully mentioned that Ron might be back one day sometime in the future?
    IMHO, United needs to jettison the aging squad and rebuild. Start with the young team that played against Hull at the end of last season.
    Sad to say, MO7 is currently just a 'refurbished work in progress' or is it Fergie pet project. A testament to his hubris?

  • Comment number 22.

    Big Congrats to Burnley what a result!! As a United fan i'm obviously disappointed that we lost in the fashion we did! Not a 100% shocked by the result United didn't look great against Brumi and with it being Burnley's first home match in the prem. I could smell an upset! Being from the north west i hope burnley stay up and another north west team go up! I can't wait to see Burnley vs Blackburn at Turf Moor hope its televised as that should be an immense match between two huge rivals!

    Hope United sort there problems out! We need a big aireal threat up front in my opinion as Rooney doesn't score enough with his head and Owen is low on match confidence and Berba is still blowing hot and cold! This would allow us to whip the ball in the box like we were doing last night and have a presence in the air!

    Again congrats to burnley I hope you take more big scalps at Turf Moor and keep provong the critics wrong!

  • Comment number 23.

    At last a season that might be a little bit unpredictable. Thank the recession - and Man City - for that: all big four weakened over summer, except for Chelsea.

    My take:

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 24.

    A quick reinactment of last night when i got home, having known what the score was at half time.

    (switch tv on) come on Burnley...(press channel 1 on remote) come on Burnley...(bring up teletext) come on Burnley...(enter p316) come on Burnley (wait for page to load) come on, come on Burnley...(still waiting for page) come on Burnley (SEE SCORE!!!) COME ONNNNNNN BURNNNLEYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET IN THERE!!!!!

    Brilliant result...congrats to all associated with Burnley.

    Interesting to see that no one has written off man u (quite rightly) in the same way as liverpool were written off by alot of pundits (including phil) last weekend, despite the fact that they lost to spurs who, according to the commentator on sky, had the best home record in the premiership last season (god their away form must have been bad) and man u have just lost to a team that came up through the play offs last season.

  • Comment number 25.

    One of things I liked about the match was the steadfastness and support of the home crowd... They were wonderful. They stood behind their team all through and I'm sure the insanely vociferous cheering put the jitters in the Man-U team. Something fans of the bigger teams should learn to do through thick and thin...
    And, why were 4 whole extra minutes added on? Same thing happened in the Chelsea - Hull match that was destined for a draw if not for the added time...Am I seeing a trend here???

  • Comment number 26.

    Didn't actually watch the whole game because I was watching Liverpool v Stoke.. I did miss the Dirk Kuyt goal because wanted to see the last few minutes of this one though.. Great victory for Burnley..

    United fans shouldn't worry about Owen because I remember him being like that for Liverpool.. He'll have a run of games where he'll miss absolute sitters, penalties and what not and then he'll have a run of games where he'll score some goals.. So far its same old..

    Liverpool will miss Alonso.. United will miss Ronaldo and to a lesser extent Tevez..

    Chelsea on the other hand aren't missing anybody and they've had the same core players together for a good few years now and Ancelotti won't make the same mistakes as Scolari did.. So they will be the team to beat..

    Phil im going to use your blog from now on to write my thoughts on the Liverpool players.. Until BBC sports give me my own blog.. Here goes..

    *Reina: Solid performance.. One excellent save from Delap.. Good quick distribution..

    *Johnson: Well taken goal.. Good assist (the deflection was a cheeky handball by a Stoke player that backfired).. Great movement and excellent in attack.. Some good tackles and I think only miss-controlled a pass once in the game..

    *Carragher: Always screaming his head off.. A true leader at the back.. Good long passes to the front.. and did well to cover when Johnson was in the Stoke penalty area..

    *Ayala: Good solid debut.. Felt sorry for him as they never passed to him unless he was the only available option and it was 100% safe and got directions and orders shouted at him whenever he had the ball.. Quite funny..

    *Insua: Ok in attack and defense.. offered some width.. Missed a sitter..

    *Kuyt: Worked hard.. Some wayward passing.. Missed a good chance but then scored.. Was glad Johnson got to the ball first for the second goal because Kuyt would have just blasted it straight at the keeper..

    *Lucas: Good passing.. Some great tackling.. Was very impressed with the way he ran 1/3 of the field to the halfway line.. so aggressively and took the ball off a stoke player in the 85+ minute.. with the team winning 3-0.. Great attitude..

    *Mascherano: Tough tackling.. Lots of fouls.. But its what you expect from him now..

    *Gerrard: Two great assists for the captain.. Anonymous at times though..

    *Benayoun: Was happy he started ahead of Babel who did brilliantly staying on the bench.. Good game.. clever passing though not always accurate.. Played a brilliant diagonal pass across the park to find Johnson in space..

    *Torres: Well taken goal.. Shame about the painful looking head-butt and swollen eye.. Some good movement, tricks, and half-attempts.. Expect lots of goals now he has got the first goal out of the way..


    *Voronin: Missed a good chance from the edge of the area.. Sometimes played too deep.. a bit slow..

    *Riera: Not much of an impact.. Some good passes here and there.. nothing too special..

    *N'gog: one nice dribble into the area that resulted in a corner.. Lucky his header didnt bounce back off the bar.. But he managed to score which is great..

    Liverpool should work more on their corners.. Back when Houllier was in charge they scored alot more from set-pieces..

    Im done..

  • Comment number 27.

    Arsenal too have a pretty good squad bt there chances of winning d league is stil slim.IMO,i tink dey v a better chance wt d cups ,bt they need 1 or 2 Essien-ish defensive midfielders,2 compete well in d chams league

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't think ManU has the strikeforce to challenge well in the League and in Europe. Berba and Owen can't give a combined 25 league goals at this rate. Rooney at best will get 20 league goals. Without the pressure of Ronaldo and late match of Tevez.

    I think ManU is in trouble. Can't see goals coming from the midfield when they are chasing for the ball (They were relaxed and free to operate since Ronaldo put pressure on the opposition). Suggestions that ManU might be out of the top 4 might be too early but there is cause for concern esp. if Rooney gets injured. Cheers to Burnley and Spurs.

  • Comment number 29.

    Well played to Burnley and a fantastic strike from Blake to take the points. United need to give a convincing display soon and I'm confident they will. Ronaldo blah blah blah, he can never be replaced because he is such a talent but would he have scored last night...? who knows. What i do know is United created a lot of good chances but were up against a keeper in fantastic form. We don't normally start well and it looks the same this season but we will be ok and will be there come May. You all know it! Anderson in my opinion is the weak link. We must also start playing a team with some regularity to get some momentum going.

  • Comment number 30.

    SAF needs to sign another player who can fall over and get penalties and free-kicks as often as Ronaldo did.

    Either that or make sure the referees add 10 mins of stoppage time - instead of the usual 6 mins.

  • Comment number 31.

    shadur10 wrote:

    "As a United fan I find it quite funny that people are looking down on the club because of this loss and the loss of Ronaldo. He is a great player and will be missed but he is not the reason that Burnley won last night."


    And as a Liverpool fan I found it quite funny that all the Mancs etc wrote us off after an away defeat to a very good Spurs side - what goes around comes around - HA HA HA. Well done Burnley, hope you have a good season.

  • Comment number 32.

    The danger is that every United defeat will be blamed on Ronaldo's absence
    Hmmmm, Sounds familiar!!!

    I could have sworn that Liverpool were slaughtered by one and all for the defeat at Spurs (a great side), and who's name cropped up by the 'ever so predictable' BBC journos and pundits? Alonso!

    Great win for Burnley. As a youngun I can just about remember them in the old 1st division, Leighton James, what a player!

    Great support as well, as a percentage of their population, they support their team well. Hopefully, they won't do a Hull. It's great for the Prem that teams from relatively small towns such as Burnley and Wigan do well.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm partially shocked that this result carried so much favor in the blog, I didn't expect it to.

    But even to dwell on the contrasting styles: Liverpool lose to a very good Spurs team and Benitez is the star of the blog, with embedded photo and etc..

    manchester struggled to beat one promoted side, one of the relegation favorites for some people - not much said, not depiction.

    manchester then lose to another promoted side, another possible relegation favorite for the other people - and praise to Burnley more than the lack of performance from manchester, again no ferguson images.

    You have to face the facts that, despite manchester being given the easiest of easy starts to the season on paper, not only have they failed to convince against these sides, no really big deal is being made of it.

    We ALL know for sure that if Benitez's side had failed to impress against 1 promoted side, then lost to another - there would be a blog full of scathing remarks and nice big pics of him along with how losing Alonso was a foolish thing etc etc..

    Will the same reflection be made of manchester united if they fail to win away at Spurs ? Nothing like the results they've just had, not even a big deal as Spurs are setup as a good team this season, but the irony will/will not be there.

    Another point to keep in mind; Benitez was being leaned on for mentioning they should win some of the games against lesser opponents - a missrepresentation of what he said in an interview with his broken english - remembering that he is Spanish, as the media and muppets tend to forget. ferguson mentions something similar a few weeks later along with some blatently disrespectful remarks, and the media are scared to make anything big of it.

    When the heck are the media going to conceed that they inherently just don't like Benitez and that ferguson scares the day lights out of them ?

  • Comment number 34.

    # 20 Johnson has scored 1, made 1 and been one of ur best players so far

    can't b dat ba can he?

  • Comment number 35.

    Fair enough Man Utd lost and Burnley played well. It's quite unbelievable to think that after just two games Man Utd haven't got a chance. Think back to Sunday evening and it was Liverpool who didn't have a chance. It's going to be a very long season.

  • Comment number 36.

    First of all, congratulations to Burnley on their first home game.

    That said, what a laugh all you guys are who write United off after one game. I don't think it's churlish to remind that only one of the first choice back 5 were present, even though the 5 who played were hardly tested except for one spectacularly struck shot.

    Let's also remind that had the United finishing been up to scratch we should easily have scored 3 in return. Rooney is getting back used to his preferred role, and his link up play was wonderful - shame the finishing around him was so lacking sharpness, but that will come.

    Jensen was outstanding to keep them in the game - and as ever Carrick was too languid, and Giggs unable to finish. But I hardly think many United fans will be sitting there worried about the season ahead.

  • Comment number 37.

    Borussia Dortmund 0 Real Madrid 5

  • Comment number 38.

    To are spot on about the Burnley crowd. They were magnificent, although I genuinely feared for the future of one young man in front of the press box when the board went up for four minutes of added time.

    They were passionate, vociferous and hostile in the way a home crowd should be - and while Turf Moor may have grafted on a couple of newer stands these days, it remains a good, old-fashioned football ground.

    As for Manchester United, it is inevitable that we will all look at them in the early stages of the post-Ronaldo era and wonder what might have happened had he been playing.

    It will be the same at Liverpool with Xabi Alonso and will be like that until someone steps forward and shows they might be able to fill the gap.

    I spoke to Alan Hansen last week and he said no-one could kill lesser sides in the closing stages of matches like Ronaldo, and there just wasn't that same sense of threat about United last night.

    Very early days to be writing teams off though, especially United. Liverpool are back on track now but Carlo Ancelotti will be enjoying these early defeats for Chelsea's rivals, as will Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

    Let's hear from Burnley fans. What will that win do for your team's confidence and their chances of survival this season?

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm not a Man Utd fan by any means but don't they always seem to start off fairly slowly? They never get into full gear til about November and then steamroller everyone after Christmas. Even without Ronaldo they have a stronger squad than anyone else and will win the League again this year I reckon.

  • Comment number 40.

    What an amazing night. I was watching on TV with the Volume so loud it was like being in the stadium. I'm a London Based Burnley fan so my neighbours must of been wondering what all the noise was about.
    Its so good to get a win under our belts and now we know we can beat Prem Clubs that will give us a massive confidence boost.
    The belief within the squad was evident. Jenson saved the penalty but did not celebrate it at all. He just wanted to keep focussed on the task in hand. What a legend!!! all you Other Big Prem Clubs.....Please don't poach Owen Coyle!!! We need him!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Great result and great to see some of the over paid players of modern football humbled. All i heared on the news before the game was the state of the visitors dressing room etc.
    Tough is a game of football not a 5* holiday as most players think now grow up and a reminder of the real world the rest of us live in.

  • Comment number 42.

    Great result for Burnley, makes me feel good about the £50 I put on them staying up this season. Don't read too much into it in regards to Man Utd though, remember they are very sluggish starters and people make the mistake of writing them off (they are only one point worse off than they were at this stage last season).

  • Comment number 43.

    Well done to Burnley, they really took the game to United last night, and deserved something from the game, United had lots of possession but rarely had that cutting edge to break them down or that peice of magic to open there defence up.

    The crowd was awesome, they were so loud and so supportive it was a joy to see, they gave every man that lil bit extra of everything.

    I dont think anyone can complain bout Burnleys stadia, its great, old fashioned proper football ground, i just wish the pitch was dreadful too so we could of seen some proper football in the mud!

    Alot of people are commmentin about the loss of Ronaldo and alot of united fans think he wont be missed, well he will be, he was that spark and that edge and that threat that united possessed last year, just lookin at uniteds 11 without Ronaldo gives the opposition a little bit more belief.

    I do believe United are lacking match winners, someone like ronaldo who will make something out of nothing on his own and score, and i think thatll be there downfall this season, by no means am i writing them off becasue thatll be unthinkable but aside Rooney i dont see anyone else!
    Chelsea have Lampard, Ballack, Drogba, Anelka, Arsenal have Arshavin, Van Persie, Fabregas, and Liverpool have Torres, Gerrard, Kuyt (who scored so many important goals last season), United fans may say Berbatov but he scores too few goals and the midfield doeant possess a goalscoring threat.

    Good luck to Burnley, enjoy it.. coz i dealt it will last long!

  • Comment number 44.

    I think Utd should put in a £100m bid for Ronaldo :) My god how they miss him - it is so clear already. Simply irreplaceable.

    Valencia - not impressed me at all. Poor first touch, over elaborate on the ball, little end product. Owen looks low on confidence and fluffed a good chance yesterday and last Saturday. Maybe he'll get 10 or so goals this year - I don't think he'll bag any more than that.

    Utd need an attacking midfielder in the mould of Essien or Lampard and an out and out proven striker in the class of Torres. Berbatov I have now given up on. Who those players are, and whether Utd can afford them or are prepared to pay for them, or can lure them to OT is another matter. Otherwise my prediction is 3rd or 4th place in the EPL and QF in the CL if they're lucky.

  • Comment number 45.

    Er, Phil. You are a fantastic pundit and all, but I don't know how you can possibly say United weren't a threat last night. For most of the second half United spent their time hammering balls at Burnley and were it not for some absolutely woeful finishing and some magnificent goalkeeping they would have been slaughtered.

    Even their own manager said they were riding their luck against United, and they named their keeper man of the match. United had a game or two like this last season and it did nothing to stop them winning the Premiership.

    It's far too early to write them off, in the same way it's far too early to say Tottenham will win the Premiership.

  • Comment number 46.

    to be honest the result was a poor, losing to a below average team is always hard to take.
    Burnley had a game plan and played it well, try and nick a goal and then sit everyone in their own half(cant blame them).
    From a Man Utd view we had many chances and half chances but failed to take them, on another day we could of easily scored 4 or 5 but we never so we've just gotta look to the next game to rectify it. In regards to the penalty, people saying carrick shouldn't of taken it, i disagree, i would of picked him to take the penalty as in the past they have been great and he is normally composed. If he scored would people of been saying he shouldnt of taken it......the answer is no.

    To say we had no sustainable pressure is false, especially in the second hald we had our back line 5 yards within their half most of the time, but it sounds like clutching at straws but every bounce of the ball, little ricochet went in burnleys favour (oh....apart from one in the 2nd half).

  • Comment number 47.

    Congratulation to Burnley for their great achievement . The way they played they richly deserve a victory .It seems that gradually Burnley are becoming a great club and deserve reckoning . There is still a long way to go . But the quality of players they have ,they will reach higher pedestal .

    From overseas fans and mainly from Mauritius we take this opportunity to congratulate them and wish them plentiful of success in future matches .

  • Comment number 48.

    8. At 08:20am on 20 Aug 2009, shadur10 wrote:

    "Liverpool have always won 1 lost 1, are they in a crisis?"

    Liverpool lost twice last season, less than anyone else? How can they have always lost one, won one, over the course of 38 games and have then only lost 2 times?

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    The simple fact is the history of English football says it's very unlikely United will win the league this year, 4 on the trot is unheard of, so most serious United fans aren't unduly worried by the start we've made on the basis that A) It's only two games into a 38 game season, B) We were just as woeful if not moreso at the start of last season and C)History says we're unlikely to win the league this time out at any rate.

    Fair play to Burnley, they got a goal early and then fought like hell to defend it. United were pretty uninspired in the final third and taking Owen off instead of Park robbed the team of what we needed by the end which was a penalty box poacher as opposed to the deeper threats of Berbatov and Rooney.

    For people querying the amount of injury time, there were sections of the crowd that were taking 20-30 seconds to return the ball for throw ins, if anything the ref let them off lightly.

  • Comment number 51.

    Some people replying to this blog seem to have written United off after two games and I don't really get why?

    When have we ever really had the ideal start to any season? We managed to win the first game, which was rare in itself haha. I understand that by statistics we should have beat Burnley, but, they are the newly promoted team and Manchester United are the team to beat. Of course they're going to make it difficult as they possibly can for the lads.

    United will miss Ronaldo but as I have said and many others have said, great players in the passed have arrived at United and left United. Give it a few games for the new guys to settle in. Give Owen some more pitch time to prove himself in a red jersey. It won't be long til the team gel and the goals fly in.

    Great blog sir, I follow you on Twitter also, big fan.


  • Comment number 52.

    Liverpool lose against an excellent Spurs side and it's down to the foolish Benitez having the audacity to sell a player who wanted to move on.

    Man Utd get beaten by a tiny club odds-on to be relegated straightaway and it's "the wonderful unpredictability that still exists in football".

    You're a busted flush.

  • Comment number 53.

    Funny how you were falling over yourself to critisise Benitez and Liverpool for losing to a good Tottenham side but when Mr Ferguson and his team lose to a team that will more that likely finish in the bottom 4 all you can say is that he "won't be panicking". You could at least try to hide your bias or do you just not care anymore?

  • Comment number 54.

    If this result is the equivalent of Hull beating Arsenal early in the season last time round then 4th place could be beckoning for utd!!

    However (not sinking to the same level that everyone did when saying our title chances were over after losing a game on Sunday to a team much much better than Burnley in Spurs) there were a number of problems for utd last night on the field that without Ronaldo they need to address. Owen is an out and out striker. You need to create chances for him to score. Last night in our game we had Benny, Glen Johsnon and Kuyt running the Stoke defence ragged with zippy passing, dribbling and pace. Utd are missing a player, like Benayoun, in the middle of the park who can carry the ball and flit all over the place causing massive headaches for the opposition defence. If they don't want to get left behind they have to find a quality international central midfielder or playmaker to play behind the front 2 to get the ball to the front men. Rooney good as he is can not do everything by himself which it seemed the team thought he could do for most of the match last night. I am sure the utd fans will come on here and say that blah blah we have loads of injuries but apart from Hargreaves none of the injured players are the ones that are going to fill this role. You could say that when all the defenders come back you won't let in any goals but we all know that you don't win anything with draws!!!

    Just to say that after last night Yossi Benayoun just made himself undroppable for Liverpool. I think this season he could really be our key player. He was everywhere and is the first player at Liverpool I have seen who plays like Steve McManaman.

  • Comment number 55.

    Just how much truth is there to the much chanted statement by Man Utd fans that they always start slowly. Can someone actually provide evidence of this? Or is this simply another way of bending the truth. Maybe Phil you can assist with providing some hard evidence (if there is any).

  • Comment number 56.

    Hopefully this is the wake-up call that Sir Alex needed. The problems at United are not all personnel issues. The problems also lie with the coaching staff. When Queiroz left United, Sir Alex should have replaced him with a No. 2 from outside the club. Mike Phelan does not bring any new training methods or ideas to the team and is a purely a yes man to Sir Alex. This was emphasised last night by the lack of time spent on the touchline, and the choice of substitutions made…Neville what was that going to achieve? It was also evident in the CL Final where Sir Alex deployed the same tactics as the previous season against Barca, however Barca had adapted and developed over that period and found the United midfield wanting. Sir Alex needs a coach to challenge his ideas like Carlos did.

    More evidence of the coaching issues has been provided by the lack of development in the young first team players. Both Nani and Anderson shone in their debut seasons, but have since failed to develop their potential. This has left a void in the squad of creative players able to help win matches, and is a problem with coaching not ability. Furthermore, since the loss of fitness coach Valter Di Salvo to Real Madrid, there are question marks over the fitness of the squad, particularly in the engine room where players such as Carrick and Anderson look jaded as games progress and lack the ability to have continual short sprints when required.

    Sir Alex must also resolve the captaincy issue. Rio should be given the armband on a full time basis. Giggs has never been a vocal leader on the pitch and Gary needs to retire, the injuries have taken their toll on his ageing body.

    Finally, if Sir Alex is going to maintain the 4-4-2 formation then he needs to recruit a box to box midfielder, who can run, tackle, pass and shoot. Hargreaves could have filled this role but it looks unlikely he is going to have any real impact again this season. I would suggest someone in the vein of Cattermole or preferably Palacios. A better solution would be the 4-2-1-2-1 formation with two centre mids and an attacking midfielder and two wide men supporting the striker. This would add goals from midfield with the ideal being Fabregas but the more plausible options being Silva, Modric or Schneider. This would mean only one sizeable outlay required and the ability to incorporate a pair from Carrick/Scholes/Fletcher/Giggs/Anderson in the middle of the park who would not have to win the game, but just keep it moving…..Food for thought Sir Alex.

  • Comment number 57.

    "And in Turf Moor, the Premier League may have an old-fashioned stage, but on this thrilling evidence it also has a fitting one."

    Exactly, cogently expressed. The EPL is the best prime league (BPL) and the most entertaining league with tradition.


    Not cogently expressed. The grammar here is shocking. It should have been written like this:

    "And in Turf Moor the Premier League may have an old-fashioned stage; but, on this thrilling evidence, it also has a fitting one."

    Dear oh dear.

  • Comment number 58.

    As ever with these boards you get a lot of emotion over logic. Football fans get carried away. I remember when Hull started brightly last season and i think people were tipping Brown for a move to a more prestigious club, even England manager...thats emotion over logic.

    The logic is that we are 2 games into a season. Burnley have already lost a game (which many here forget) and Man Utd, although dont have Ronaldo are still going to finish in the top 4. They may not win, but its impossible for a club to win the league year in year out forever.

    Dont get carried away!

  • Comment number 59.

    Where's Gaz_Utd?

    I'd have thought he'd be here with his excuses already...

  • Comment number 60.

    Well done Burnley.

    But please dont over play the 73,000 population "fact"
    This myth that burnley fans are all from the town, is one the media have been using all week.

    In fact they are one of the few clubs where fans from a rival county, i.e Yaarkshire, are happy to come over the border and support a team.

    Also, no one mentions Accrington in this.
    A team that struggles to get 1,500 a game despite a lot of success in the last few years.

    And why?

    Ask their Chairman. As he says, most people in Accrington wear Burnley and Blackburn tops and travel outside town for their football

  • Comment number 61.

    I can't for the life of me think why you are stunned? What an over reaction. I told you Burnley could match the top 4 given the performance in last season cup matches. United are traditionally slow starters and have more points on the board I would wager than the same time last season or season before. Burnley are a good side, they are in the premiership, whats the big deal? Apart from the host of chances United couldn't took away......that might be a talking point, but Ronaldo wouldn't have changed it. Berbatov might had he actually started instead of Useless Owen who you admire so much.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes, great day for Burnley-genuinely would love to see them stay up,because they do try & play football.

    But look at the match stats-Utd 18 shots to Burnley's 5 & 13 corners to 1. How many saves did Foster have to make compared to The Beast?

    Hardly a side lacking in creativity-at least 4 decent other goal-scoring chances missed, penalty apart & at least 3 such chances v Brum.

    The problem of not taking chances was there last season, too, regardless of Ronaldo. If we weren't making them, then, yes, start worrying.

    Having said which, please will someone tell me the use for Park? Answers to SAF on a postcard. Gary Neville would do a better job as an attacker!

    What we DO need is one player to lift the team. Rooney can do it, Berbatov is capable in his own way, but someone else is needed. See the difference to Chelski when Ballack came on on Tuesday?-THAT is what we need from 3 or 4 different sources & that way team rotation will usually work.

  • Comment number 63.

    Shocking night for MU. Fergussen should not have released Ronaldo to Madrid and Tevez to MC. This is definetely a double mistake. At the same time , the mid field is not to the standard. Therefor, I feel Fergi should bring one strong attacker and one mid fielder to bounce back to the top. Otherwise, it will be a painful year and season for us(MU fans). For the time being, it is better to line-up the Italian man who scored against Aston Villa last time along Rooney and Berbatov. Advise to Berbatov to speed up his game is very important.
    Wish for the positive.

  • Comment number 64.

    "I follow you on Twitter also, big fan."

    Twitter - the home of the BBC employee, children and the friendless.

  • Comment number 65.

    the reason United get slightly less writing off than Liverpool is because United have proven time and again that its a mugs game to write them off.

    When Benitez wins the league, then he can expect the same. People don't write Chelsea off either, for the same reasons.

    As far as the match, it wasn't quite as bad as the Alan Greene-like blogs and reviews would suggest. Rooney, who is getting back into his central role, created two or three wonderful opportunities that would have been highlighted had it been Fabregas or Gerrard, but which have gone unmentioned. The problem was lack of sharp finishing, and an god-aweful penalty by a player so languid he doesn't seem to be trying. Should have been Owen to take, to get him his first goal to take the pressure off.

    Anyway, congrats to Burnley for coming through thanks mostly to their keeper who was outstanding - i hope they're the three points that keep them up this season.

    True United fans will still be relaxed; we're still on track (according to our past record, rather than wishful thinking) to win the league!

  • Comment number 66.

    Based on the way this season has started, I'm slightly concernered that Darren Bent might end up as top scorer and get picked for the England squad. God help us all.

  • Comment number 67.

    Post #44 "Valencia - not impressed me at all. Poor first touch, over elaborate on the ball, little end product".

    I know time in football is a precious commodity, but give him some. Those problems you've highlighted are exactly the same as another winger had when he first came to England and played for Man Utd, and he's just been sold for £80m.....

  • Comment number 68.

    United will still be able to make in into the top 4. that is 100% sure.

    ~~The defence (once restored) is the best in the league.

    But to win the premierleague, Utd need match winnners, at the moment there is only one....Rooney.

    Realistically the only likely candidates to step up to this role are Valencia, Nani, Owen, Macheda & Berbatov.

    If they can, they Utd have a chance, otherwise it seems like this season is for rebuilding another new team for SAF after the 2005-2009 era!

  • Comment number 69.

    Great, NikosBG is back, and still peddling his one-eyed anti-British football agenda. I clicked on his link... goes to a web-page for Euro-Tool. At least 50% accurate for a change...

    Fair play Burnley, hope you stay up with ease this season, well deserved.

  • Comment number 70.

    A great result for Burnley, and I'm pleased for them. Whilst not wanting to be a party-pooper, I do recall that Hull started last season rather well too.

    So the aim for Burnley should be consolidation, as achieved last year by Hull. I think that Owen Coyle is a shrewd manager, and as aware of this now as Tony Pulis was a year ago. I think they'll stay up, and I certainly hope so.

    As for United, some have said that they usually start poorly and then get into their stride - they did that last year, to be sure.

    But this year is different, in one crucial respect. A year ago, they began with the same team that had won the title the year before. This time, they don't - they're going to miss Ronaldo, and don't underestimate the impact of losing Tevez.

    I don't think United can retain the title unless they spend pretty big. I'm not convinced that Arsenal can sustain their stylish and effective football over the whole season. Liverpool depend too much on the brilliant combination of Gerrard and Torres - fabulous players, but they are bound to pick up injuries and/or have off-days, so Liverpool need to buy some upfront firepower to back them up.

    So, as a neutral - which I am where the EPL is concerned - it looks good for Chelsea. But it's far too early to be making firm predictions!

  • Comment number 71.

    Who knows what anymore ? A fluke result or lady luck has changed? We all know that there are one or two teams that will struggle, but more importantly we don't know who will be in the top four ! and there lays the biggest dreadful saga of them all, if Liverpool or Man Utd finish 5th or lower, Man Utd with their brand value could survive healthily, but it could be the end of Liverpool as a force !!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Wow...2 games in and man u written off already. 1 win out of 2...probably our best start in years! Cause for concern...well actually yes! Still having to rely on the likes of Scholes and Gigs - not a good sign. Nani and Anderson did'nt cut it last season...expect the same this season. Carick and Berbatof...starting to realise why Tottenham sold them in the first place. Sorry! but have to say it...Wayne Rooney, what a fantastic player, but in my opinion wasted up front, he's one of the best play makers in the world, shawly best suited to Midfield? He would probably score more goals. Just a thought 'Alex'.

    Well done Burnley!!

  • Comment number 73.

    firstly, a great result for Burnley, couldn't have happened for a more deserving club and manager.

    Here we go for another season of scouse anticipation (or more to the point desperation). ManU have won the EPL the last 3 years in a row FACT! The odds of winning it for a fourth time are highly against,it looks like it will be much harder this season due to the emergence of some very strong squads which makes for a great season. There is one thing that I am fairly certain of though ManU will be there or thereabouts come May 2010 and L'Pool wont win it.

    There will be shocks a plenty caused by the minnows this season and none of the big four ManU,Chelsea,Arsenal or Man City will be immune.

    Bring it on!

  • Comment number 74.

    Right. There's an abundance of comments from United and Liverpool fans on here. I'm a true claret, and was at the magnificent game last night!

    To start with united, at times they looked very average, which was very surprising. They gave the ball away with sloppy passing, which isn't what united do. However, they still looked quality at times. The passing and movement between rooney, giggs and berbatov, and owen when he was on, was breathtaking at times. Aside from a few runs into the area, we managed to keep them to long distance shots really. They don't need to worry though. They're gonna win enough games to be up there.

    As for the mighty clarets, a truly truly wonderful night. I have been at Turf Moor for many a year. and never have I heard a noise like that at the end. All through last season the atmosphere was electric, but last night was on a different scale. Welcome to the fortress of Turf Moor people. The team were outstanding. The whole defence was solid, Bikey and Carlisle had a brilliant debut partnership. The midfield never stopped working, all the while passing like they know how to. A solid performance, and we definitely didnt look out of our depth.

    We know we'll lose some games this season, but if we can replicate the performance and atmosphere of last night, then we've got a good a chance as anyone of staying up.

    Bring on Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool........and ROVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Good blog Phil.

  • Comment number 75.

    I see the moderation is the same as ever. Can someone explain why Phil's blogs are pre-moderated and just about every other blog is moderated re-actively?

  • Comment number 76.

    United were very poor all round, quite simply the better team won on the night. There is no point keep bemoaming the fact that Ronaldo has left United need to get on without him and based on that performance they are a long way from doing that !

  • Comment number 77.

    On the flip side, we (United) haven't got going yet but have had around 35 efforts at goal and forced approx 25 corners in 2 games. What'll happen when we do get going?

  • Comment number 78.

    The worry for Utd is that last season, they basically didnt drop points against anyone below the top 8. Defeats or draws against the better teams coupled with the annihilation in Rome reveal that the Utd team then was nowhere near the greatest, the fortunate Champions League draws coupled with their ability to beat the "lesser" teams in the Premier deluded people when they were talking about a "quintuplet"

    Utd will get better, yes its early, yes they will probably beat Wigan but look at that squad, does that suggest an all conquering side ?

    Burnley, congratulations, many neutrals would like to see you survive, and if you make Turf Moor inhospitable even in the better weather you will survive particularly as Hull and Portsmouth look like favourites for 2 of the relegation places.

  • Comment number 79.

    As a United fan im obviously dissapointed with last nights result but give Burnley credit. They got ahead and preserved it and were quite useful on the counter. Jensen was a huge presence( as he was in their cup wins over all the other big teams in recent years). Hopefully they show the same desire, passion and skill( dont forget they do knock the ball around) in other games this year.
    As for United its our usual slow start when fergie changes the team too much, we struggle in front of goal and are written off after 5 days of the season.

  • Comment number 80.

    The moderation takes far to long, it spoils the thread.

  • Comment number 81.

    I was one of probably a lot of people last night who overreacted about the defeat to Burnley (check my 606 history lol). When people say we should not be losing teams to like Burnley, it is so true. However, last night was to be there night. On another night, all those half chances United had, at least one or two of them would have gone in and we would have got a draw or the win. To say we lack creativity is probably true, but we still have the experience in the squad to do well this season. I thought last night as well that if we struggle/can't beat the likes of Birmingham and Burnley, then we will struggle to make the top six, let alone the top four. But if you look at it without tinted glasses on, we have the same core of players, minus ronaldo and tevez. Yeah Ronaldo is a huge loss no one can deny that but this United team is more than good enough to put in a decent challenge. We are known to be slow starters, and I know that I should never write my team off.

    As for the rotation thing as well, Ferguson has to stop messing about with our midfield. Its obvious what our strongest midfield is at the moment, i just hope he realises it.

    People have written off Liverpool already, people have written off Arsenal, and now United are being written off. The media in this country and fans alike should not be so naive. Three of the best teams in England over the past 30 years or so should not be written off.

    United a one man team? nah.

  • Comment number 82.

    To be honest we all know that Burnley are a good side. They knocked out Chelsea and Arsenal in the Carling cup last season. Chelsea had the likes of Deco, Drogba and Lampard on teh pitch and the Arsenal kids are a very solid unit that most Premiership clubs cant compete with.

    I think Burnley will be safe.

  • Comment number 83.

    It's taking more than 40 minutes in some instances to moderate the comments how come????

  • Comment number 84.

    #66 Rafa's Magic Box Beard

    What would be wrong with Darren Bent playing for England? He could be Heskey plus goals. Sounds alright to me.

    #67 When Ronaldo first played for Man U he was 18 years old and was new to the English game. Valencia is around 24 and has already been here for a couple of seasons. Therefore, it is fair to expect more of Valencia.

  • Comment number 85.

    the midfeild was unbalanced,playing a 433 formation was completely wrong!
    anderson is a CAM,not a left winger or DM,so i dont know why sir alex keeps playing him out of position,it ruining him.he didnt play any part against birmingham and we still struggled.
    carrick should be showing young players like anderson the way,but he's just showing him how to be slow on the ball,and not score goals!
    park was terrible the whole game,apart from the shot on goal!
    owen keeps getting into the right positions,but he keeps missing!
    rooney was very poor,he is a very good player but highly overated!
    he often goes for 6-8 games never scoring,so relying on him to score 20+ goals is just wrong,he's never scored more than 16 league goals in a season!he should have been sent off lastnight aswell.berbatov has never scored more than 15 goals in a season,playing in england.
    we need to get back to playing a 442 formation,because we now have the players for that,and because our defence is weakened,having 4 in midfeild will help out defencively.
    nani on the left,any 2 central midfeilders in the middle,and valencia on the right!
    we need a top class proven goalscorer,quickly.

  • Comment number 86.

    coleusman wrote:
    Yes, great day for Burnley-genuinely would love to see them stay up,because they do try & play football.

    But look at the match stats-Utd 18 shots to Burnley's 5 & 13 corners to 1. How many saves did Foster have to make compared to The Beast?

    Hardly a side lacking in creativity-at least 4 decent other goal-scoring chances missed, penalty apart & at least 3 such chances v Brum.

    The problem of not taking chances was there last season, too, regardless of Ronaldo. If we weren't making them, then, yes, start worrying.


    great point!i dont think we played well,but we did create enough,as youve pointed out,we just didnt take are chances.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well, well, well. 2 match days and 2 very different outcomes - Liverpool don't look the weakest team now do they? (Lee Dixon) You would've bet anything on Ronaldo scoring that penalty and United going on to win the match last season.

  • Comment number 88.

    Well done Burnley,a few more games like this and the fickle man utd fans will be calling for fergies head.

  • Comment number 89.

    i genuinely don't think this was a masive turn up for the books. a great scalp in claiming the name of Man Utd but i had money on Burnley to win this. i think they're a great footballing team and given united are always poor at the beginnign of the season, and given that their midfield wasn't up to scratch, i had a feeling Burnely would do them. Burnely are a good side who i think will finish 14th or above. They took apart my team last year (Spurs) and whilst we were on a bad run etc etc, they really outplayed us. Now i expect certain teams form the championship to outmuscle and bully teams like us but i didnt think they had it in them to outplay us. i expect burnely to do well this season

  • Comment number 90.

    as a united fan i think we deserved to lose to burnley last nite. burnley were excellent and a lot of teams will find it hard there this season, though i don't think turf moor will have the same affect as stoke's britannia stadium!
    as far as united are concerned, we will miss ronaldo this season but ronaldo is not the reason why we lost last nite. we just didn't perform, though the penalty miss was a crucial point in the match. we will come good this season, we have always been slow starters and gone on to win the league. after 3 games 2 years ago, we only had 2 points and were 7 points behind man city and still went on to win the league.

  • Comment number 91.


    True, but he's only played 2 games, one of which was last night where Man Utd as a team weren't too great. So it's probably a bit unfair to say he can't control a ball, cross or beat anyone on that evidence. Not every single player in the league hits the ground running at the start of the season.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    Although a lof of people have emphasised on the number of chances United missed last night and the lack of a dynamic midfield,I still feel Manchester Uniteds problem lies elsewhere.As much as I respect Sir Alex for his success I feel his choice of goalkeeper is based on sentiment.Ben Foster is a bag of nerves and does not inspire the back four in anyway,watching the match closely one could see that despite uniteds domination of the game anytime Burnley threatened Fosters goal area it was panic stations in the defence area.I think trying to help Foster get a seat on the plane to South Africa is going to cost United dearly this season.On the other hand kudos to Burnley they came with a game plan and executed it perfectly,and of course the atmosphere at the stadium was fantastic.Burnley deserved their victory and I hope they stay up .

  • Comment number 94.

    Why was Carrick chosen for the penalty - surely Mr Rooney would have been more qualified to take the penalties in the absence of Ronaldo, if only to help him increase his goal tally this season to the 25+ mark. I understood that Rooney was negotiating with Sir Alex to become the penalty taker. I know penalties can be missed and Ronlado missed important ones too; I just felt that Rooney should have taken that penalty and it could have changed the fortunes of United during that game. It is still early days and United should not be written off, however they really need to bounce back from this result and show a clinical attacking performance against Wigan on Saturday, a team I believe will be well up for it on the back of their defeat against Wolves.

  • Comment number 95.

    "if Liverpool or Man Utd finish 5th or lower, Man Utd with their brand value could survive healthily, but it could be the end of Liverpool as a force !!!"

    What, like last time Liverpool finished 5th?

    What a buffoon.

  • Comment number 96.

    Phil, On not an entirely unrelated subject... has John Motson decided that he will commentate on next years World Cup? I recall a while back some talk he would not. Defoe!!!

    I didnt get to see the footage as I dont live in the Isles no more, reading the match report evoked a phonetic vision of Motty though

    Blake! OH!!Brilliant!!

    Well I say

  • Comment number 97.

    """At 09:14am on 20 Aug 2009, LagosBoyLovesGerrard wrote:
    I wnt b quick 2 write off united just yet 4 d title by tippin dem for d 4th position and all dat. Yes,d impact of ronaldo will be felt. . . Dribbles,headers free kicks and wat have u. But dnt 4get dey v always started slow in d last few seasons.
    That said,i'm awfully impressed wt spurs. Dey seem 2 have an awfully good squad,which is more dan i can say 4 my team's manager,benitez who keeps overpayin 4 players. . .keane,johnson,aquilani etc!""

    could we possibly get that in English please?

  • Comment number 98.

    Well done to Burnley, a battling backs-to-the-wall display, a great goal, and fine goalkeeping. I wasn't really that surprised, it was always going to be a tough match for us. But let's get it straight, while it was far from a vintage display from United, with the opportunities we carved out we still should have won the match comfortably. I'm not denying Burnleys moment in the sun, and I really hope they stay up this season (and I think they will), but if United were dominated like Burnley were last night but still somehow won I doubt anybody would praise us. Such is the English mentality, we love it when the plucky underdog has their day.

    Having said that, everything is not rosy in the United camp. We are still missing that cutting edge at times, we still score far fewer goals than we should from the opportunties we create. This is not because Ronaldo has left, we had similar problems for much of last season. Everytime we lose points this season people will say "if only Ronaldo was still playing", well we won 10 league games 1-0 last season and Ronaldo only scored the winner in one of those, so that's a little simplistic. Besides, Ronaldo was dire in the middle half of last season, his form only picking up from March onwards. People seem to have forgotten this already.

    I do think we are short of one or two players, a top-class left winger, and a top-class midfielder, but with the debt situation I doubt if we're in a position to strengthen. Having said that I still think we have the best squad in the country, and I still think that the title will be between United and Chelsea, it's just that little bit of extra quality in the first eleven that would help.

  • Comment number 99.

    To paraphrase a famous Norweign commentator...

    Eamonn Holmes, Bobby Charlton, Mick Hucknall, Terry Christian, Angus Deayton, can you hear me!!! Your boys took one hell of a beating!!!

  • Comment number 100.

    Well done Burnley - glad to see you're making the most of the opportunity. Best of luck for the rest of the season, from a Bruised and Battered Blade.


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