Man Utd ‘thrashed’ by Burnley in behind-closed-doors friendly

Concerns over Manchester United's shaky start to the season have worsened following word a second-string line-up lost 3-0 to Burnley in a behind-closed-doors fixture.

Erik ten Hag reportedly rested the vast majority of his usual starters but offered starting spots to the likes of Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, Donny Van de Beek and Facundo Pellistri. However, their inclusion wasn't enough to prevent the Premier League powerhouse from succumbing to the top-flight newcomers.

While the manager may not read too much into the significance of the final result, it will have proved useful as a fact-finding mission on certain players whose futures at Old Trafford appear uncertain. Van de Beek, McTominay and Martial have each been strongly linked with the exit of late, and it's understood the club need to sell before they can buy any more new talent.

Youngsters Hannibal Majbri and Alvaro Fernandez were also named in the XI, as was 35-year-old Jonny Evans after he agreed a short-term return to United's ranks. It's the second time in only a few days that the Red Devils have lost without registering a reply following Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.

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United were clearly second-best in north London and handed Ange Postecoglou his first win at the Spurs helm. The hosts could have won by an even larger margin, too, considering they at one point hit the woodwork twice in quick succession.

That came after Ten Hag's side edged out a 1-0 win over Wolves in their Premier League-opener, where the visitors were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty late on. In fact, the decision to not award a penalty saw the officiating team removed from referee duties the following week, with Andre Onana's foul on Nathan Collins in the box not given at the time.

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Vincent Kompany has shown extreme promise in his early days as a manager and guided Burnley to the Championship crown last season in dominant fashion. His Premier League return started with a 3-0 defeat at home to former employers Manchester City, while their Week 2 clash against Luton Town was postponed.

However, the Belgian could likely think of few better ways to spend that downtime than by beating old nemeses United in such stylish fashion. Even if the match was played without fans and in an unofficial capacity.

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United recently fared far better in another behind-closed-doors clash against Everton, whom they defeated at their Carrington training ground. With only one week to go in the summer transfer window, these friendly outings serve to provide useful intel on who may be worth keeping around this season – and who is better off leaving.

While Ten Hag will be far from overjoyed at the scoreline, counterpart Kompany can only be pleased with the outcome and the performance of his own stars. After a two-week competitive break, Burnley are back in action at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, while United are set to host Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.

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