Manchester United were beaten by Premier League strugglers Burnley in a private friendly at their Carrington training ground on Wednesday, according to reports. It’s the second occasion United have tasted defeat against Vincent Kompany’s side behind closed doors in six months.
United’s preparations for Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against Newport County at Rodney Parade are in full flow.
Erik ten Hag will travel to Rodney Parade knowing a shock defeat to League Two opposition would end his hopes of silverware in his troublesome second season as manager.
United have been blessed with two welcome returns to training in the build-up, with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw back with the squad.
And Ten Hag reportedly organised a friendly meeting with Burnley four days before the FA Cup tie, likely to build fitness and sharpness among the players who have recently returned from a lengthy absence.
However, according to Norwegian United reporter Fredrik A. Filtvedt, United were beaten by the Clarets at Carrington.
Maguire and Shaw may have featured in part of the match in the hope that they will be ready for the weekend.
Casemiro was also likely involved. The 31-year-old midfielder returned to the matchday squad against Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month but didn’t appear from the bench.
Lisandro Martinez made his grand comeback in the second half of the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford but will still need time to rebuild his fitness after undergoing two foot surgeries last year.
Other first-team regulars will have been involved, considering United didn’t have a fixture last weekend during the winter break, with many stars jetting off on holiday with their families.
But Burnley reportedly came out on top, and not for the first time this season. In August, Kompany’s men were claimed to have thumped United 3-0 in a Carrington friendly.
Jonny Evans, Hannibal Mejbri, Alvaro Fernandez, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, and Facundo Pellistri reportedly all started the match.
Given the number of loan exits this month, United’s team may have been even stronger this time around, but the outcome remained the same ahead of a must-win trip to South Wales.
Burnley are 19th in the Premier League, having won just three of their 21 games since immediate promotion from the Championship.
United have won just two of their last eight games, one of them against League One Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup third round. Defeat on Sunday could end their campaign altogether.