BURNLEY ended 2021 in the bottom three of the Premier League but can take some positives out of a battling performance at Old Trafford.

And had they converted any of the chances they created in the second half then they could well have made it a far more uncomfortable evening for Manchester United.

Aaron Lennon capped a fine display for Burnley with a quality effort just before half-time to keep his side in the game while Wayne Hennessy, deputising for keeper Nick Pope - one of several positive Covid-19 cases in the Burnley camp - also impressed.

But ultimately, first half goals from Scott McTominay and Cristiano Ronaldo - either side of a Jadon Sancho shot that deflected in off Burnley captain Ben Mee - sealed victory for United.

Under-strength Burnley, who were also without Josh Brownhill, Jay Rodriguez and Kevin Long, went behind in the eighth minute when McTominay scored a fine opener from the edge of the box.

A low Sancho shot deflected in off Mee in the 27th minute and Ronaldo made it three 10 minutes before the break, turning home after McTominay’s strike was superbly tipped on to a post by Wayne Hennessey who was making his Premier League debut for the Clarets.

A lively first half - which ended with Lennon's fine reply for Burnley, made way for a flat second period as United professionally saw out victory – a welcome end to a challenging year at Old Trafford.

Rangnick made six changes for the match and Burnley unsettled the hosts early on, with Chris Wood heading off target before curling wide unaware offside would be called.

It was an energetic start to an entertaining opening period, with Ronaldo uncharacteristically finding the Stretford End rather than the top corner when put in by the returning Luke Shaw.

United would not be cursing that missed opportunity for long. Mason Greenwood cut the ball back to the edge of the box and Ronaldo’s touch when fell kindly for McTominay to hit a low drive beyond Hennessey.

A period of relative calm followed before Shaw showed a moment of quality that has been lacking in his performances this season. The England left-back drove up the field from his own half and sent a fierce drive just wide.

Sean Dyche’s side were managing to unsettle their hosts, but United extended their lead in the 27th minute.

More good work by Shaw eventually ended with Sancho being sent down the left, with the summer signing cutting in and hitting a snapshot that went in off Mee.

United continued to press for another that arrived in the 35th minute.

A superb McTominay effort was met by a similarly impressive stop by Hennessey, who tipped the strike on to a post, only for the Portuguese to flick the loose ball into an empty net.

But Lennon gave Burnley a glimmer of hope when he cut out a heavy Eric Bailly touch before showing quick feet and impressive composure to send a low strike beyond De Gea in the 38th minute.

Greenwood forced a smart reaction save from Hennessey early in the second half, with the Wales international producing another fine stop to deny McTominay.

Bailly limped off and headed straight to the dressing room in the 66th minute as Rangnick turned to Raphael Varane.

The Clarets continued to dig deep and Mee headed over before Hennessey produced another fine save to thwart Edinson Cavani.

Ronaldo hit the wall with a free-kick and struck the side netting, with Shaw lashing off target as the match wound down, United enjoying a relatively comfortable win for a change.