Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

Fixtures & Results

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Mourinho hopes Manchester United players learn from late scare at Watford

Jose Mourinho wants his Manchester United players to take lessons from their win at Watford as they conceded two late goals when they should have been "smoking a cigar".

The Red Devils moved to within five points of leaders Manchester City courtesy of a 4-2 win at Vicarage Road but they had been cruising at the break.

Former Watford winger Ashley Young scored two stunning goals inside six minutes to break a scoring duck stretching back to May 2016 and, when Anthony Martial tucked home a third, the visitors looked home and hosed.

Instead, Watford hit back as substitute Troy Deeney converted a 77th-minute penalty before Abdoulaye Doucoure turned home to bring Marco Silva's side within one goal.

The points would be secured in style as Jesse Lingard scored a fantastic solo effort after running at the Watford defence, but Mourinho felt his side had taken their foot off the gas having raced into a lead.

"It was an easy match to win comfortably, in the last minutes we should be smoking a cigar, but in the end it is three points," Mourinho said on BT Sport.

The Portuguese added in his post-match press conference: " We had chances for four, five and six (goals).

"I think the players had the feeling that it was too easy and the game was over. Then they (Watford) reacted, scored the penalty and that gave them the belief.

"The teams in mid-table have quality and no pressure, they don't feel the pressure the teams with other objectives have so they came with everything.

"I think we had mistakes in the box and that cost us two goals and maybe it is a good lesson and it is good that we have lessons without losing points, so the next time we are winning 2-0, 3-0 I think the players will remember, that is football."

Mourinho praised Young's influence after the England international played a massive part in the winning goal against Brighton on Saturday before leading from the front here with a well-taken first and a precise free-kick for his second.

"He is playing well," Mourinho added.

"I know what he can do for us, all the positions he can be useful for us but this left-back position, I think he has adapted and at this stage of his career he has the maturity and tactical experience, it is good.

"I was surprised that Paul (Pogba) gave him permission (to take the free-kick). I was not surprised with his shot.

"He is quite good and his percentage of success in training is quite high, we knew he could score."

Watford boss Marco Silva felt his players reacted badly to Young's opening strike after beginning the game well.

"It is a hard result for us, we started very well in the match," he said.

"We controlled the opponent well and in that moment the game is really balanced. We put two or three dangerous crosses into the box.

"They went three times in our box in 10 minutes and scored three goals. We started well and no-one expected what happened in those moments.

"We knew before the match that United is very strong on the counter-attack and it is clear for me that after the first goals I think our players were a little bit nervous and anxious and the third goal is a good example."

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