Murphy's Law is the idea that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
It has felt a bit like that for Erik ten Hag recently. Out-run and out-thought by Brighton; Andre Onana chucking one into his own net to give Bayern Munich of all teams a head start in midweek; injuries piling up — Lisandro Martinez the latest to head for the treatment room; no returns for Jadon Sancho or Antony; and Sergio Reguilon heading to Turf Moor sick and pushing through for 79 minutes given he’s United’s only fit left back.
And so, long after the travelling fans had vacated the away end, Ten Hag returned pitchside for a moment of reflection with director of football John Murtough.
This was a massive win for Manchester United, make no mistake. The magnitude of it was not lost on either man.
Ten Hag and Murtough took the opportunity to reflect, pass on a couple of pats on the back before a handshake was exchanged.
The Dutchman, so often stoic on the sideline in contrast to the animation of peers such as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, knew knives were beginning to sharpen in some quarters.
When Bruno Fernandes spectacularly volleyed in this game’s only goal just before half-time Ten Hag could not suppress his feeling of relief, more than anything, as he raced from his bench to unleash a fist-pump.
‘Of course we needed that win,’ he said. ‘We had a tough run of games against good opponents. It wasn’t necessary to lose those games. Today was must-win.’
Heading to Lancashire with their worst start to a league season since 1989 can only be diced up in so many ways, even if there has been a level of mitigation to United’s downturn. Burnley needed to be a turning point —only time will tell if this is more than a false dawn.
‘The team spirit and how theyRead on m.allfootballapp.com