A brace from substitute Chris Smalling helped Manchester United overcome a resilient Burnley 3-1 in Wednesday night’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford, as Louis van Gaal’s side climbed up to third in the table.
Smalling, who came on for the injured Phil Jones after five minutes, nodded United in front just a minute later with his first touch from Falcao’s flick back, before Danny Ings levelled things up soon after.
Smalling restored the home side’s advantage on the stroke of half-time, however, after heading home Angel Di Maria’s cross, before Robin van Persie sealed the three points with a late spot-kick after the Argentine was brought down in the area with seven minutes left.
United have now lost just once in 15 top-flight games, but it was a far from satisfactory showing against the Clarets, with several of the starting XI on the night severely underperforming.
One of the main culprits was centre-back Jonny Evans, who, on his return to the line-up, visibly struggled to contain Burnley’s front pair over the course of the 90 minutes.
The Northern Irishman admitted this month that he is still adapting to Van Gaal’s new style of play, and that fact was certainly evident after a shaky outing in front of the United faithful.
With Luke Shaw set to return from suspension to push Marcos Rojo back into central defence, it seems more than likely that he will have to settle for a place on the bench moving forward.
Judging from the reaction among Twitter-based fans, though, that move would be roundly welcomed.
Million dollar question: How did Evans make it into professional football? #MUFC— Busby Bulletin (@BusbyBulletin) February 11, 2015
Evans proving again what a liability he is. Shaw is back next game so Rojo will move back into the centre thankfully! #MUFC— Everything Man Utd (@everything_utd) February 11, 2015
My match reaction video tonight will be mainly about Jonny Evans being a terrible footballer #MUFC— ♛George Davis♛ (@Geo7ge10) February 11, 2015
Can't even believe what I was watching yesterday... Evans should be chased away, not even sold #MUFC— FRANCIS SUKE (@SukeFrancis) February 12, 2015
I made an appointment to have my eyes surgically removed on Friday so I never again have to witness the shambles that is Jonny Evans #MUFC— Mark Bulmer (@markbulmer9) February 12, 2015
Afta witnessing Johnny Evans in the flesh tonite how on earth has he declined so much.. Clueless on the ball a real liability #mufc— Alan O Brien (@Alan6obrien) February 11, 2015
The sight of Evans appearing in shot seconds after the ball hits the back of our net will never get old. #mufc— John A. (@John_Armitage) February 11, 2015
Can't recall seeing another player in an United shirt struggling like Jonny Evans did tonight. He's totally bereft of confidence. #mufc— Danny Wyn Griffith (@DannyWGriffith) February 11, 2015
Jonny Evans is possibly the worst defender I have ever seen, he couldn't get into a Sunday league side #MUFC— Keith Jayne (@Keith_A_J) February 11, 2015