Lingard double steals a famous win off Burnley
Man United 2 Burnley2
Jesse Lingard came off the bench to spare Manchester United a Boxing Day defeat at the hands of Burnley, scoring twice to rescue a 2-2 draw for Jose Mourinho's side.
Lingard answered a half-time SOS with United staring down the barrel at 2-0 down but pulled one back with an instinctive back-heel before striking through a packed box in added time to cap a frantic finale.
In salvaging a share of the spoils the England winger, who also had a shot deflected off the crossbar from point-blank range by Nick Pope, robbed the the spotlight from Burnley's Steven Defour, who bent it like Beckham with a sublime free-kick following Ashley Barnes' opener.
Defour was a United target back in 2009 and has waited a long time to enjoy a moment in the sun at Old Trafford but Lingard meant it did not lead to a first Burnley win at the ground since 1962.
It was, nevertheless, a world away what Mourinho must have planned when he paired Romelu Lukaku with Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the first time, and rivals Manchester City can now extend their Premier League lead to 15 points tonight.
Having conceded costly goals in the dying moments of their last two matches, against Bristol City and Leicester, United varied the theme somewhat by going behind inside three minutes.
Marcos Rojo was culpable, barging Jeff Hendrick from the game's first foray on goal. Johann Berg Gudmundsson delivered the free-kick and United, Lukaku in particular, dallied and dithered until Barnes accepted the invitation to poke home.
The away end exploded, Barnes erupted and United players shook their heads before beginning a frenetic but unfocused riposte. Ashley Young was at the heart of it, but his selection of whipped crosses went unconverted.
In the meantime Burnley almost doubled their lead when Scott Arfield's instep volley crept over David De Gea and skipped off the crossbar.
Another free-kick, Young transgressing this time, handed the visitors an appealing sight of goal and Defour produced a stunner. The Belgian struck his 20-yard effort as sweetly as possible, leaving De Gea groping at thin air and United staring at a humbling reverse.
Marcus Rashford and Ibrahimovic were both denied by last-ditch defending before the break, Ben Mee with a goalline clearance and Kevin Long a timely block.
Mourinho swung the axe at the break, removing the Swede and Rojo in favour of Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. As part of the remix, Nemanja Matic found himself reassigned to central defence.
If that had a hint of desperation to it, Lingard's arrival lifted United. He somehow failed to score from point-blank range with one of this first touches but there was no preventing Lingard's next attempt. The England international showed a brilliant awareness of angles as he moved to meet another Young cross, flicking into the bottom corner with an elegant back-heel.
Five minutes of added time opened the door for late drama and it was Lingard who provided it, smashing a shot past the unsighted Pope following an uncleared free-kick.
Responding to a question that the potential 15-point gap behind leaders City might be unacceptable for a club of United's stature, Mourinho said: "One thing is a big club and another thing is a big football team. They are two different things.
"We are in the second year of trying to rebuild a football team that is not one of the best teams in the world. Manchester City buy full-backs for the price of strikers. When you speak about big football clubs, you are speaking about the history of the club."
When it was pointed out United have spent heavily - roughly £286million - since Mourinho took charge in 2016, the Portuguese said: "OK, (but) it is not enough. The price for the big clubs is different than for the other clubs.
"The big historical clubs, they are normally punished in the market because of their history."
Mourinho was then asked if he intended to spend big in the January transfer window but left the room before answering.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was not downhearted, despite being moments away from a famous victory, and focused on the positives coming after Saturday's 3-0 loss to Tottenham.
Dyche said: "Overall, to come here and get a point is very pleasing, especially when the squad is stretched. It's a very tough place to come."