Fred took centre-stage in a 2-0 win at Turf Moor with Paul Pogba absent and Scott McTominay out for at least three weeks with a knee injury.
The much-maligned £52million Brazilian, mocked on TV by United legend Roy Keane, was one of United’s stand-out performers as they made it one defeat in eight and moved to within a point of fourth-place Chelsea.
‘I thought Nemanja Matic and Fred played really well. I don’t think many of you would have said three or four months ago that Fred would be one of the best players in a tough game at Burnley.
‘It was a very good performance and I am very happy with the attitude. Coming here with Barnes and Woods up front, you are in for a tough fight and we handled it well.’
United also kept their first clean sheet since September with the United boss adding:
‘That made it a great night, particularly for David (de Gea), though he had only one save to make which is a testament to the performance we put in.
‘We are getting better. We had too many draws early on but we’ve only lost once a month which is not bad for a team that is learning. Hopefully we can go two months without losing. This was a big step forward.’
United are in the Europa League this season and missing out on the Champions League for a second consecutive season would be a disaster for a club their size.
Defender Harry Maguire insists the occasional flop, like the 2-0 loss at Watford last weekend, must be eradicated in the push for top four.
‘I think you can see when we play to our level, we can beat anyone but we have been far too inconsistent this year. It’s been disappointing some games, especially Watford away.
‘We didn’t perform at all so it was important to come here, do the basics well and we are always going to score with our front three.’