Devil of a task for Jose now
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.
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.
Paul Pogba has struggled to live up to his world-record fee since joining United. But, 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.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearly won it for United in the 78th minute when he met Marouane Fellaini's cross with a powerful header that Gomes brilliantly pushed away.
But United never looked convincing and they crumbled at the back in the 83rd minute as Zuniga scored with his first touch less than a minute after coming on.