Frustration was the overriding feeling as Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Burnley at Old Trafford.
The Reds, who were the dominant force throughout, came up against former Academy graduate Tom Heaton in fine form in the Clarets goal, and were left to rue a host of missed chances as Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the crossbar and captain Juan Mata struck a post.
Ander Herrera was sent off midway through the second half for a second bookable offence as Jose Mourinho’s men, who drew a blank for the third successive Premier League game, were denied a first league victory in four games in front of a sell-out crowd at the Theatre of Dreams.
Mourinho made two changes to his team from the midweek EFL Cup win over Manchester City as Matteo Darmian replaced Antonio Valencia, who is undergoing an operation on a fractured arm, for his first league game of the season and Jesse Lingard came in for his 50th United appearance, with Michael Carrick dropping to the bench.
The Reds came quickly out of the blocks as Ibrahimovic fired straight at Burnley captain Heaton from the edge of the box inside the first 20 seconds after referee Mark Clattenburg allowed play to continue following Ben Mee’s late tackle on Lingard.
Heaton was called into action again a few minutes later when Ibrahimovic linked up well with Marcus Rashford, whose cut-back found Mata but the Spaniard could only strike straight at the keeper.
Ibrahimovic then rifled a volley over the crossbar after another ex-Red Michael Keane headed out a threatening pass from Paul Pogba, who himself had a shot which deflected behind off Dean Marney as the hosts bossed proceedings from the outset.
Burnley, whose three Premier League wins this season have all come at Turf Moor, struggled to impose themselves and the Reds almost went ahead on 17 minutes when Mata’s delightful reverse pass released Ibrahimovic but the number nine was thwarted by an excellent save from Heaton.
The Burnley stopper made the most saves in a league game this season in their defeat at Southampton last weekend and it was another busy afternoon on his Old Trafford return as Mata’s low shot from just inside the box was tipped around the post.
The Reds had further opportunities to take the lead before the break as Ibrahimovic’s side-footed finish from Pogba’s deft flick was diverted behind by Mee before Lingard’s powerful header on the penalty spot from Ander Herrera’s cross was athletically kept out by Heaton.
Pogba sent a rasping drive over the crossbar, via the slightest of touches from Heaton, and United’s appeals for a penalty on the stroke of half-time were waved away when Darmian went over under the challenge of Burnley sub Jon Flanagan.
Possession: United 73% Burnley 27%
Shots: United 16 Burnley 4
Shots on target: United 7 Burnley 1
Corners: United 10 Burnley 1
As the players re-emerged for the second half, Mourinho took to a seat in the main stand before moving to the directors’ box. United picked up where they left off and, after Ibrahimovic did well to work his way to the byline, Mata was denied again by the legs of the impressive Heaton, who also denied Lingard’s follow-up.
The Stretford End cried in unison again for a spot-kick when Pogba’s attempted cross appeared to hit Michael Keane’s hand but referee Clattenburg pointed for a corner. As the Reds sensed the breakthrough, Heaton’s heroic display showed no signs of stopping as he stood firm to miraculously block Ibrahimovic’s acrobatic effort from close range, injuring himself in the process.
Even when Heaton wasn’t called upon, the woodwork denied the Reds as Mata’s low effort hit a post before Ibrahimovic’s header deflected onto the crossbar. But United’s afternoon became increasingly frustrating when Herrera was shown a second yellow card on 68 minutes for slipping and clipping the heels of Marney.
United sent on captain Rooney, who had missed the previous two games with a thigh injury, and Marouane Fellaini in place of Mata and Lingard, but Burnley came close to taking the lead when Sam Vokes flicked Scott Arfield’s cross narrowly wide of De Gea’s post.
As the Reds piled on the pressure in the closing stages, an unmarked Daley Blind saw his low shot deflected over before Luke Shaw curled wide and Ibrahimovic turned over Pogba’s cross from close range but Burnley survived five minutes of added time, with Rooney firing over the top from a corner, to hold on for their first away point.
Although it wasn’t the result they were hoping for, the Reds have now only lost one of their last seven games as attention turns to booking a place in the Europa League last 32 with Thursday’s trip to Fenerbahce.
Possession: United 72% Burnley 28%
Shots: United 37 Burnley 7
Shots on target: United 11 Burnley 1
Corners: United 19 Burnley 1
United: De Gea; Darmian, Rojo, Blind, Shaw; Herrera, Pogba; Lingard (Rooney 72), Mata (c) (Fellaini 73), Rashford (Memphis 82); Ibrahimovic. Subs: Romero, Young, Carrick, Schneiderlin.
Booked: Herrera, Pogba
Burnley: Heaton (c); Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward (Flanagan 44); Arfield, Hendrick, Marney, Gudmundsson (Boyd 85); Vokes, Gray (Barnes 60). Subs: Robinson, Tarkowski, Kightly, Bamford.
Booked: Flanagan, Marney, Heaton