José Mourinho is often portrayed as a pure defensive technician but it was Manchester United’s exuberant attacking play that warmed a see‑sawing 4-2 victory at Watford that saw his team open up a 3-0 lead before almost finding themselves pegged back in the second half.

“I prefer to forget the five minutes where we conceded the two goals,” Mourinho said of Watford’s late rally. “I prefer to focus on all the good things we did. To play away from home and score four goals, we could have scored seven, eight; this was very, very good.”

Two first-half goals from Ashley Young set up the win, the second a sublime free-kick from 25 yards. Mourinho had been caught by the TV cameras looking baffled in the aftermath. “I was surprised that Paul [Pogba] gave him permission,” he said. “I was not surprised with his shot. He’s quite good. In training his percentages are high.”

Watford’s rally came after Nemanja Matic was forced to leave the pitch with a muscular injury (“For Matic to tell me he wants to be replaced, he does not do that if it is nothing important,” Mourinho said), after which United’s defence was stretched at times.

“They came with everything, they had no problems, they gave us a couple of minutes of real pressure, where we felt anything could happen. This is football.”

“What we needed to do was go back to our defensive stability, which we lost when Matic had to come out. But the important thing is the three points”

Jesse Lingard capped the win with a lovely solo goal but again there was effort but no edge from Romelu Lukaku. “Lukaku needs a big contract with a new boots company; they need to pay him lots of money so that he can start scoring again,” Mourinho joked. “He is such an amazing player for the team, such a good professional. He works so hard.”

For Marco Silva this was a match his team lost on “details”, with Watford’s manager also suggesting Marcos Rojo should have received a second yellow card towards the end.

“We started very well the first 20 minutes,” Silva said. “I told my players it’s not our image to make a lot of mistakes; we need to do everything different. Forget the result and play our game and we did different in the second half. When we scored near the end for me that looked like a yellow card for Marcos Rojo and 11 versus 10 at that point would have been difficult. That for me looked fair at that moment.”

This article was written by Barney Ronay at Vicarage Road, for The Guardian on Tuesday 28th November 2017 23.32 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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