BURNLEY, England, Jan 13 (AP): Paul Pogba sent Manchester United to the top of the Premier League by scoring with a deflected volley in a 1-0 win at Burnley on Tuesday.
United came into the match at Turf Moor knowing at least a point would move the team into first place for the first time at this stage of the season since Alex Ferguson was in charge of the title-winning 2012-13 side.
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 gave United a three-point lead over Liverpool heading into their meeting at Anfield on Sunday.
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.
Shaw, who was booked for his hefty challenge on Johann Berg Gudmundsson, soon swung in a cross that Harry Maguire headed home from an acute angle, only for it to be ruled out for a push by Maguire on Erik Pieters as he climbed.
The United captain was furious that the decision was not reviewed.
United controlled the second half and Pogba delivered in a rare clear-cut opening for United.
United looked to add another, with James Tarkowksi producing an important last-ditch challenge on Anthony Martial.
Josh Brownhill struck a shot wide for Burnley and substitute Matej Vydra saw an effort deflected into the side netting by Bailly as the hosts finally went on the attack, with the VAR checking a handball against Maguire in the box.
There was still a tense ending as Tarkowski miscued a shot and Martial wasted a later one-on-one opportunity to make it 2-0.
“We had to dig in and earn it and we did,” said the United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“We feel very confident going into games. Away from home we have really done well. We have to believe in ourselves and we do. We’ve done a great job, it’s good times. It’s a test against the champions (on Sunday) who have been fantastic, that’s a great test for us,” he said.
“Of course we know we’re going to the champions they’ve had an unbelievable three seasons so we’re ready for it. But we’re ready and we’re excited, we’re hungry for it and it’s a test of character and quality again. We’re in a good position going into it,” said Solskjaer.
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