Man Utd celebrated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment as permanent manager by seeing off Watford to go fourth in the table.
With Ole announced as the new long term man at the Old Trafford wheel on Thursday, there was an air of optimism upon the Reds return to action, despite back-to-back defeats before the two week international hiatus.
This was a victory of substance rather than style, but the result is all that matters and United got it through goals from fit-again strike pairing Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial either side of half time. The lively, in-form visitors wouldn't lie down, though, and made things nervy late on when Abdoulaye Doucoure scored. If hadn't been for some heroic defending and a succession of missed chances, Javi Gracia's FA Cup semi finalists may have taken the point - or even all three - that their play deserved.
The Reds were lethargic as Gracia’s impressive footballing side
took command with their slick play. While Watford found their rhythm
immediately with sweeping moves that created untold problems for United,
the Reds, on the other hand, just couldn’t string any passes together. Doucourse flashed an early shot wide and talismanic capta
in Troy Deeney was denied by De Gea, who beat away his shot after the striker had wriggled free.
It took until shortly before the half hour mark for United's first chance to come, but we made the most of it when it duly arrived. Luke Shaw's swashbuckling surge upfield and found Rashford with a sublime pass on 28 minutes. The returning striker, fresh from a much needed breather, waited for ex Red Ben Foster to commit himself and then slotted beyond the advancing Hornets keeper.
Martial almost made it 2-0 four minutes further on, but this time Foster did well to deny the Frenchman with his leg.
De Gea saved well from the impressive Roberto Pereyra but the chances kept on coming for the Hertfordshire Hornets after the interval. Daryl Janmaat should have done better but fired wide when well-placed, whilst Will Hughes went close with a 20-yarder.
Solskjaer had seen enough and made a double change with Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard on for Ander Herrera and Juan Mata. Ten minutes later, the substitutes linked up to devastating effect as Andreas fed Lingard on the overlap and his cross was met by Martial, who bundled in on the rebound after Foster had saved.
That came in the 72nd minute, but Watford are made of stern stuff and refused to buckle. In the 89th minute, our defence was opened up too easily and Doucoure's effort found its way in.
It meant a frenetic finale which United survived and Solskjaer puffed out his cheeks in relief at the final whistle.
Overall team performance: 5/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Luke Shaw
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