United made light of their lengthy injury problems and Burnley's strong home record to cruise to an impressive win at Turf Moor.
The Clarets had lost only three times at home all season and with Juan Mata, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo all absent, this looked a tricky assignment for the rotated Reds.
However, the result never looked in doubt as United raced into a two-goal lead by half-time through recently-criticised Anthony Martial and returning captain Wayne Rooney.
The win ensured we sit one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City ahead of the derby showdown at the Etihad next week, a contest that now looks crucial.
United started brightly and went close inside the opening ten minutes.
Martial cut the ball back to Ander Herrera who in turn picked out Rooney but he was denied by a smart save from Clarets keeper Tom Heaton.
Ben Mee went close with a header at the other end but the breakthrough was not long in coming and arrived on 21 minutes.
Martial started and finished the move, as he swept home from close range after a blistering counter-attack that involved Herrera and Jesse Lingard.
Andre Gray had a half-chance, but United were in control and doubled the lead six minutes shy of the break.
Heaton saved well from Martial, who had been played in by Paul Pogba, but he was powerless to prevent further damage as Rooney snaffled up the rebound for his 251st club goal.
George Boyd had an effort deflected wide for the hosts but the Reds continued on the front foot after the interval.
Having been released by Lingard, Rooney raced through one-on-one with Heaton but slipped as he shaped to shoot and Burnley cleared.
Eric Bailly and Daley Blind lined up in defence as the Reds only recognised centre-backs but the duo looked solid and restricted Burnley to speculative efforts from distance.
Sean Dyche's side have built their probable survival on home form but were on the periphery throughout and failed to muster a shot on target.
Paul Pogba went close from distance before in-form substitute Marcus Rashford fired into the side netting on the angle late on.
Next up for the Reds, the small matter of the Manchester derby at the swamp, a match that looks to be a direct play-off for Champions League qualification.
Overall team performance: 7.5/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Anthony Martial