LONDON: Scott McTominay was man of the match in the last Premier League match of the year as Manchester United defeated Burnley 3-1 at Old Trafford to go sixth in the table.

Having gone top of the Premier League with victory at Turf Moor in January, talk of a title challenge had turned to the need to kickstart their Champions League qualification push by the end of a topsy-turvy year.

There remains plenty of work for Ralf Rangnick to do, but Thursday’s 3-1 win against an under-strength Burnley continued the unbeaten start to his interim stint and sent the side up to sixth heading into the new year.

United would have ended the calendar year outside the top six for the first time since 1989/90 had they not won at Old Trafford, but academy graduate McTominay was determined to set them back to winning ways.

The Scotland international delighted compatriot Sir Alex Ferguson on the eve of his 80th birthday by scoring a fine opener from the edge of the box in the eighth minute.

A low Jadon Sancho shot deflected in off Burnley captain Ben Mee and Cristiano Ronaldo made it three, turning home after McTominay’s strike was superbly tipped on to a post by Wayne Hennessey.

The back-up goalkeeper impressed, with Nick Pope among several positive Covid-19 cases in the Burnley camp, as did Aaron Lennon as he capped a fine display with a quality effort before half-time.

A lively first half made way for a flat second period as United professionally saw out victory – a welcome end to a challenging year at Old Trafford.