Manchester United fell to a 2-0 defeat to Watford on Sunday afternoon, with David de Gea making a costly error and Jesse Lingard missing a first-half sitter.
Watford recorded their first home win of a tough season and a first victory under new manager Nigel Pearson. Yet, the manner of the defeat was very familiar to United fans.
Yet again, they lacked any creativity and found it impossible to break down a team that allowed them to have the ball – each of their five Premier League losses this season have come against sides below them in the table. Yet again, there was a lack of spark or movement in the final third. And, yet again, De Gea made a poor mistake – his sixth error leading to a goal since the start of last season, the most of any player in the Premier League.
The Spanish goalkeeper fumbled Ismaïla Sarr’s weak shot to gift Watford the opening goal.
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) December 22, 2019
De Gea could then do little as Troy Deeney doubled the home team’s lead from the penalty spot. The defeat leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in eighth place in the Premier League, the lowest they’ve been at this stage of a season since 1989. Paul Pogba’s return from injury as a second-half substitute was little consolation for United supporters on another difficult day for the team.
The Frenchman returned to the team for the first time since September, replacing Jesse Lingard, who made a costly error of his own when he chose to try chip Ben Foster when through on goal in the first half. Lingard has not registered an assist or a goal in the Premier League since December 26, 2018.
Following the game, Solskjaer blamed a slow start for United’s poor result. He said De Gea’s error was “just one these things that happen” and that his team didn’t create enough chances.
"We started slow. When you concede two goals like we did in quick succession, we gave ourselves too much to do."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks to Sky Sports after Man United's loss at Watford.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 22, 2019
In north London, Sky Sports’ cameras captured the reaction of Gary Neville and former United manager Jose Mourinho to the De Gea error.
Gary Neville gatecrashing Jose Mourinho's interview because Manchester United are losing to Watford 🤣 pic.twitter.com/EIxYTutC86
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 22, 2019