United fight past Watford

Manchester United's Chris Smalling scores their second goal against Watford on Saturday. Reuters

Manchester United punctured Watford's bubble on Saturday, withstanding late pressure from the surprise early Premier League pacesetters to win 2-1 and relieve the pressure on beleaguered manager Jose Mourinho.

United endured a miserable start to the season, losing two of their first four matches and slipping well off the searing pace set by Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford themselves.

But two goals in three first-half minutes from in-form Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling gave them valuable breathing space at half-time and ultimately paved the way to a victory that ended Watford's perfect record.

Rocked by United's strong finish to the first half, Watford pulled a goal back midway through the second period through Andre Gray but failed to find an equaliser despite a strong finish.

Mourinho hailed the "very important" victory but said his side's performance level dipped in the second half.

"With this win we keep the same points as Spurs and Arsenal," he told the BBC. "We have that distance of four and six points to the other top teams. if we don't win this match obviously that distance goes a little more."

"In the second half we decreased our intensity, then the goal happened, then the game is open," he added. "I think this last Romelu Lukaku tackle as a right-back shows everything. I think he is the image of the team."

 

 

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United fight past Watford

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