data-js=”article-bith Cambridge United has seen Macclesfield safe for another season.”I’m not saying it’s Bobby Moore and Pele great escape [Escape to Victory] but it is a little bit like that as well,” Campbell said afterwards.”Most of the pundits were saying no hopeody” data-insert-mobile-adslot>
et this was 90 minutes that supported that the only change from the “defensive, counter-attacking football” of Jose Mourinho “is that Solskjaer is winning”. United certainly do the counter punch well, and the game’s highlight was a sublime pass from Shaw for Rashford’s goal, but Watford had 20 shots all told and as many on target – eight – as their opponents had efforts at all.
Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera were uniformly dismal, outshone throughout by Doucoure, and with no platform in midfield, United were indebted to some robust defending and Watford’s tendency to snatch at chances. Pogba has had a lot more good games under Solskjaer than bad ones but it is telling that when he plays poorly – and he spent much of this match half-heartedly milling around and cheaply conceding possession – United suffer terribly for it.
Addressing that is one of several challenges for Solskjaer. “Paul is important for us and we couldn’t keep the ball,” he said. “He has been away, played two games with France – a bit deeper for them – so that is something we may have to think about to get him more involved.”
“This is the start of the start,” said Solskjaer in his programme notes, although that message had obviously not got through to his players before Rashford opened the scoring. United were slow, sloppy, sluggish and half asleep. Passes were underhit or misplaced, which invited needless pressure against a Watford side who could not have imagined they would be given so much room and who, with a little more composure, could and probably should have taken the lead. Doucoure dragged a shot wide from 12 yards as the goal opened up, Troy Deeney forced David De Gea to scoop the ball away with a header and an effort from Roberto Pereyra lacked the power to trouble the United goalkeeper.
olskjaer will have b boss Chris Wilder blew a fuse over VAR after their 1-1 draw with Tottenham yesterday.Wilder called for a major review of VAR after Jon Moss failed to follow the Premier League’s OWN guidelines to deny Sheffield United a famous victory.After video reeen most grateful that his team scored first – and what a goal it was. Shaw has been United’s most consistent performer this season and he was their best on show again here. Winning the ball from Deeney deep inside his own half with a well-timed interception, the England left back galloped forward, looked up and, still in his own half, is “baffled” by Mesut Ozil’s lack of involvement this season.The German has not featured in Unai Emery’s last three match-day squads.”I want to see more offensive players on the pitch in positions where we’re going to be able to hurt teams,” Wright bent a quite superb low 40-yard pass in behind Christian Kabasele that Rashford, perfectly positioned in between the Watford defender and Miguel Britos, did not need to break stride to run on to. The England striker took one touch and then, with his second, dinked the ball past the onrushing Ben Foster.
he goal settled United. They were denied a second soon after when Foster made an excellent reaction save from Martial and created several other inviting openings but the momentum built up in the closing stages of that half evaporated after the interval. Off the pace and sitting deeper and deeper, Watford were encouraged to attack. De Gea had to be alert to push away a shot from Pereyra and Will Hughes shot wide from an attack that originated from Pogba squandering possession and it became very apparent that something had to change for United.
errera and Juan Mata made way for Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard just after the hour mark as Solskjaer sought more impetus and those two substitutes would eventually combine to tee up Martial for United’s second against the run of play, the Frenchman scooping the ball home on the rebound from close range after Foster had saved his initial backheel. Doucoure’s goal – slicing through the heart of United’s defence after a one-two with Isaac Success – simply came too late for Watford.
“It’s difficult to explain [how we lost] because we created chances, had more shots, spent a lot of time in the opposition half,” Gracia said. “We need to make a step forward against these teams but I believe we can do it. I see it every day, the commitment and belief from my players, I can feel it but we have to show it.”
was left out of United’s squad after the defender – whose wife Maja has just given birth to a baby son – had received death threats for pulling out of Sweden’s squad for their recent internationals. "We felt Victor was better off not playing because he’s had a couple of things to sort out," Solskjaer said.
ere is Watford’s knocking on the United door visualised. No answer yet.
atford line up thus:
"If I can walk out of here, when leaving the club, having won things – of course, the Premier League – then I’d be a proud man. I’m a happy man, I’m a determined man – the day I walk out of here, I hope to be a proud man."
alk will now be about transfer targets, new contracts and clearing out the deadwood: the bread-and-butter duties of a permanent Premier League manager. But, first, the tricky proposition of a visit from Watford. Honeymoon’s over, the real job starts now.