Two defeats in a row. After an exciting derby match that broke a 3 point gap between the city rivals, the Dutch Europa league game was as tepid and directionless we had seen United all season. So the bounce backability of Mourinho team was due.
After a scintillating thrashing of Bournemouth by Man City previous night, the pressure was on. But the performance was far from what was expected.
The team reverted back to a more solid premier league line up with pace on the wings with Martial and Rashford and solidity in the full backs through Shaw and Valencia. Smalling replaced Blind clearly to obviate the aerial and physical challenge of a double center forward system of Watford.
Despite their two defeats so far, Watford has had a solid start to the season, and it was evident with the confidence on the ball. As the media likes to highlight everytime that Manchester United is a huge outfit with the team average height more than most in the league, it was ironic that they were being hurried and harried on and off the ball.
Most of the players got frustrated with the physicality. And thanks to Michael Oliver opting for a pro home side stand throughout the match, there was not much protection for the players.
They never really got going and there was not sufficient impact of the bench.
De Gea while having a relatively quiet game apart from a misunderstanding in the first half with Smalling, was clearly beaten in both the open play goals by quality strikes by Capoue and Zuniga.
Shaw was hesitant to stride forward, Smalling grappling players all the while and having poorer distribution compared to Blind.
Bailly’s performance seems always below par compared to his outstanding start to the season. He was clearly unable to bully Deeney and Ighalo up front.
Young brought more solidity and versatility when he came on and is likely to stake a much higher claim to the starting XI than the rest. Mata probably needs to start as Rashford was fairly nullified starting for the first time this season.
Zlatan’s finishing has been below par today and many quality chances we expected him to take were missed. Rooney having been rested looked totally off radar with his long range passing and short on speed as usual.
Tactically Mourinho never really got a grip even in the second half even though things did improve. But it means 3 defeats in a row, 6 points behind the top of the table and more worries than joy into the next week. #GGMU