The Boxing Day curse: Burnley to give Manchester United nightmares again?

The Boxing Day curse: Burnley to give Manchester United nightmares again?

Jose Mourinho blasted his "childish" Manchester United stars after they conceded a last-gasp equaliser in a damaging 2-2 draw at 10-man Leicester on Saturday.

The return of Paul Pogba to Premier League action after his suspension at least gave Mourinho a reason to be cheerful, with the Frenchman captaining the side in the absence of Antonio Valencia - one of only three players to keep his place from the defeat at Ashton Gate.

Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard were particularly guilty of missing golden opportunities in the second half to put the game beyond Leicester.

More relevant to the futures of some of his fringe players, the performance means they will not be considered when Mourinho focuses on the more urgent matter of trying to cut into Manchester City's 11-point lead at the top of the table. We get a point but it feels like a defeat because we were so close to winning and we had a chance to kill the game.

There have been shades of the manager who lost control so quickly at Stamford Bridge about the Portuguese's demeanour this season and his reaction to the League Cup defeat to Championship side Bristol City in midweek was an indication of the strain he is under.

Juan Mata's double had cancelled out Jamie Vardy's 50th Prem goal.

The Swede and centre-back Phil Jones were badly exposed by Leicester's counter-attack for the Foxes' opener.

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Mata equalised on 40 minutes with a precise finish, rolling the ball into the far corner from the middle of the box. It nearly paid dividends seven minutes into the second half when more brilliance from Mahrez saw him reach the byline, only for Demarai Gray to miss the ball completely when it was played across the face of goal, with David De Gea saving the follow-up from Christian Fuchs.

Asked whether such form was good enough for a big club like United, Mourinho appeared upset that his club was being held to different standards.

It is the biggest gap between first and second on Christmas Day in English top-flight history.

Manchester United came back from two goals down to deny Burnley victory at Old Trafford, while Harry Kane broke a Premier League scoring record.

Claude Puel made seven changes, with Mahrez and Vardy restored to the starting line-up.

Although the Red Devils are touted as favourites going into the game, let us not forget that Jose Mourinho's side are now facing a slump of sorts.

"But we need to keep going and, from (Christmas Eve), rest and think about the next game - obviously with the will of finishing the game with a much better feeling". It's fantastic for the future.

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