Watford claimed a stunning victory against Manchester United as the Hornets scored three goals in the deserved win at the Vicarage Road.
Jose Mourinho has lost three games in a row as a manager. Even during last season’s apocalyptic four months as Chelsea manager, the Manchester United manager never suffered the ignominy of three consecutive defeats.
Mourinho opted for a strong-side against Watford after their surprising defeat in the Europa League in the last game.
Eric Bailey had recovered from a knock he sustained against Feyenoord so he partnered with Chris Smalling to marshal United’s defense. Upfront Ibrahimovic returned to the starting lineup, and so did the skipper, Wayne Rooney. Spanish midfielder Juan Mata was relegated to the bench, while young striker Marcus Rashford started in the right side.
Man United started the game brightly as Mourinho’s team showed some incisive passing in the opposition half in the first few minutes. But in the 10th minute of the game, Watford appealed for a penalty after Fellaini blatantly tugged back Deeney in United’s penalty box. The referee Micheal Oliver, however, thought no action was necessary.
On the 23rd minute, Manchester United had a great chance to score through Ibrahimovic after some fine work from Rashford in the right wing. But, the big Swede could only hit the side-netting, which was the first real chance of the match.
United’s profligacy was punished by Watford immediately as the Hornets scored the first goal through Etienne Capoue. A combination of Janmaat and Britos robbed Anthony Martial of the ball, and the wing-back showed great consciousness to cut the ball back to Capoue on the edge of the area, who slammed beyond the Manchester United goalkeeper.
Surprisingly, Watford boss Walter Mazzarri chose an attacking substitution five minutes into the second half, bringing on Nordin Amrabat in the place of Janmaat.
After an hour into the game, Mourinho sent Mata on for Valencia, and the change had an immediate effect. Ibrahimovic did some fine work, charging forward and linking up with Rashford, and then clipping a cross in. The Englishman missed initially, but a lucky deflection made the ball arrive at his feet again, and this time, he netted calmly.
But the next significant move belonged to Watford as the Hornets scored in the 83rd minute through Camilo Zuniga. Troy Deeney scored another from the penalty spot in injury time, which confirmed Watford’s stunning victory over Manchester United, the first in 28 years.
The Portuguese said, “In the first half for about 25 to 30 minutes we didn’t play well and that is something that we can control. We can improve, we can work on it.”
“Then the referee and the linesman’s mistake is not under my control. I can’t do anything to improve it. That Martial incident is an obvious situation.” He added.
Interestingly, small section of the United fans felt that Mourinho should now be sacked as a Manchester United manager
United had won at Watford in their three visits to the Vicarage Road in the Premier League era. Each victory came by a one-goal margin but they were two goals worse than their hosts today.