Marcus Rashford grabbed the only goal of the game as Michael Carrick signed off his playing career at Manchester United with victory over Watford.
The retiring former England international was handed a valedictory appearance at Old Trafford by Jose Mourinho, a guard of honour by both sides and a rousing ovation when he left the field late on.
The 36-year-old club captain played a key part in the first-half winner, springing the offside trap with a long pass from his own half before Juan Mata left Rashford with an open goal.
Gonna be a proud, emotional day seeing my bruv, best mate & master craftsman paint his last strokes before putting the brush down for good #artist🎨Well done @carras16 lad!â½ï¸😎 pic.twitter.com/NnE5C7uprM— Graeme Carrick (@GraemeCarrick) May 13, 2018
Juan Mata. The day belonged to Carrick and the winner came from Rashford’s boot but United’s Spanish playmaker was the most consistent threat in a pedestrian game lacking in real penetration. Mata unselfishly laid the ball into Rashford’s path to give the hosts the lead and kept Watford on alert with his forward momentum and range of passing. A noticeably more engaging performer than the pricier Alexis Sanchez.
24 – Number of Premier League minutes played this season by Michael Carrick prior to his farewell outing.
Anthony Martial has slipped swiftly down the pecking order at United this season but had been named by Mourinho as a likely starter here. Instead he was absent from the squad entirely, a fact that was later put down to an unspecified injury in training rather than a change of heart by the manager.
Man Utd: Sergio Romero 7, Matteo Darmian 6, Eric Bailly 6, Marcos Rojo 6, Daley Blind 6, Ashley Young 6, Scott McTominay 6, Michael Carrick 7, Juan Mata 7, Alexis Sanchez 6, Marcus Rashford 7: Substitutes: Luke Shaw (for Young) 6, Ander Herrera (for Blind) 5, Paul Pogba (for Carrick) 5.
Watford: Heurelho Gomes 6, Daryl Janmaat 6, Craig Cathcart 6, Christian Kabasele 5, Jose Holebas 5, Abdoulaye Doucoure 7, Gerard Deulofeu 5, Roberto Pereyra 5, Will Hughes 6, Richarlison 6, Andre Gray 5. Substitutes: Adrian Mariappa (for Kabasele) 6, Troy Deeney (for Deulofeu) 5, Nathaniel Chalobah (for Gray) 5.
Manchester United v Chelsea (FA Cup final, May 19)