Wat a win!

> More woe for Mour­inho as Wat­ford stun United, Palace trash Stoke <

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

WAT­FORD piled on the mis­ery for Jose Mour­inho as Manch­ester United crashed to a third suc­ces­sive de­feat in an em­bar­rass­ing 3-1 loss at Vicarage Road yes­ter­day.

Mour­inho’s side were rocked by Eti­enne Capoue’s first half opener and, al­though Mar­cus Rash­ford equalised af­ter the break, United ca­pit­u­lated in the clos­ing stages.

Juan Camilo Zu­niga re­stored Wat­ford’s lead with seven min­utes left be­fore Troy Deeney’s penalty con­demned Mour­inho to a third con­sec­u­tive de­feat for the first time since he was in charge at Porto in 2002.

It was the first time United had lost three in a row since the un­la­mented Louis van Gaal presided over four suc­ces­sive de­feats in De­cem­ber last year.

Adding to the in­dig­nity for United, it was their first loss in 30 years against Wat­ford, who ended a run of 11 suc­ces­sive de­feats against the Manch­ester giants.

United are al­ready lag­ging six points behind Premier League lead­ers Manch­ester City and the feel­good fac­tor fol­low­ing the three wins that marked the start of the Mour­inho era has been com­pletely erased.

Af­ter los­ing to City, Feyeno­ord in the Europa League and now Wat­ford over the last week, the size of the task fac­ing Mour­inho as he re­builds United has been laid bare.

“I feel the first mo­ment we had a de­feat, a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, some of the boys are hav­ing a bit of dif­fi­culty cop­ing with the neg­a­tiv­ity,” Mour­inho said.

They looked out of sync from the mo­ment United goal­keeper David de Gea col­lided with Chris Smalling as they made a hash of deal­ing with Se­bas­tian Prodl’s tow­er­ing cross.

When de Gea dropped the ball straight to Odion Ighalo a goal seemed cer­tain, but the Wat­ford striker fired hur­riedly wide of the un­guarded net from the edge of the penalty area.

Paul Pogba has strug­gled to live up his world record fee since join­ing United and, amid an­other tepid dis­play, the France mid­fielder gave a sud­den glimpse of his abil­ity when he quickly shifted the ball to set him­self for a curl­ing 25-yard strike that left Wat­ford goal­keeper Heurelho Gomes rooted to the spot as it can­noned off the cross­bar.

But Wat­ford’s re­lent­lessly phys­i­cal ap­proach was wear­ing United down and An­thony Mar­tial needed sev­eral min­utes treat­ment af­ter be­ing pole-axed by a clash of heads with Daryl Jan­maat.

Mar­tial even­tu­ally got to his feet but the France in­ter­na­tional still ap­peared groggy when he was made a fa­tal mis­take in the 34th minute.

Dwelling too long on the ball deep in­side his own half, Mar­tial was caught in pos­ses­sion by Miguel Bri­tos and, with United’s de­fence com­pletely ex­posed, Jan­maat had time and space to pick out the un­marked Capoue, who drilled a clin­i­cal fin­ish past de Gea.

As Wat­ford cel­e­brated, Mour­inho ques­tioned whether Mar­tial had been fouled and the winger lay flat on the turf be­fore be­ing sub­sti­tuted.

That ig­no­min­ious exit en­cap­su­lated a for­get­table half for United, but they equalised with a rare in­ci­sive at­tack in the 62nd minute.

Rash­ford played a one-two with Ibrahi­movic and broke into the penalty area, where he showed his preda­tory in­stincts by sweep­ing home from close-range af­ter the Swede’s cross de­flected into his path off Valon Behrami.

There was even worse to come for Mour­inho in stop­page-time when Marouane Fel­laini tripped Zu­niga in the area and Deeney stepped up to smash home the spot­kick.

In a later game yes­ter­day, Crys­tal Palace beat struggling Stoke City 4-1 with de­fend­ers James Tomkins and Scott Dann both scor­ing from set pieces in a three-minute first half spell.

James McArthur and An­dros Townsend also scored for the Lon­don­ers be­fore Marko Ar­nau­tovic grabbed a con­so­la­tion goal for the Premier League’s bot­tom team in the dy­ing sec­onds.

Char­lie Austin scored his third goal in four days to de­liver Southamp­ton’s first Premier League win of the sea­son un­der man­ager Claude Puel.

Af­ter four league games with­out a vic­tory, the Saints were seek­ing to avoid their worst start to a sea­son since 2000-01 and got the break on 63 min­utes when Austin chested down a de­flected cross and fired an un­stop­pable shot into the top-right cor­ner.

Austin, who had scored twice against Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thurs­day, could have grabbed a sec­ond af­ter good work by the in­flu­en­tial Du­san Tadic but his shot was well-saved by Lukasz Fabi­an­ski. – AFP/ Reuters

AFPPIX

Manch­ester United’s Paul Pogba, who is struggling to live up to his world record fees since join­ing United (behind), vies for the ball with Wat­ford’s Eti­enne Capoue, who scored again yes­ter­day, dur­ing their English Premier League match at Vicarage Road Sta­dium in Wat­ford yes­ter­day. –

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