Manchester United in crisis as Mourinho struggles to balance attack and defence

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United slumped to a third defeat in as many games following a 3-1 loss to Watford at Vicarage Road.

The latest loss leaves the Red Devils seventh in the standings, six points behind leaders and local rivals Manchester City.

Mourinho’s teams are generally known for their defensive solidity but at a club that demand a more open, attacking approach, the Portuguese has been found wanting in a bid to balance attack and defence in these early days.

Instead, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss was left discussing his own balance after a run of defeats that he has suffered for the first time since 2006.

“I have this capacity of balance. Balance is, for me, not running around the pitch when we were winning a couple of matches and nobody sees now me being too depressed. I’m sad,” said a disappointed Mourinho after the game.

Despite lining up in a 4-3-3 shape to accommodate and extract the best out of both Wayne Rooney and Paul Pogba, United struggled to create meaningfully over the course of the game.

The fact midfielder Marouane Fellaini was engaged an aerial battle with Watford striker Troy Deeney despite the Belgian leading all sorts of passing numbers in the game suggested the lack of structure going forwards for United. Both Pogba and Rooney struggled to impose themselves in midfield, and it took Zlatan Ibrahimovic taking matters into his own hands in the second half that allowed the Red Devils a way back into the game.

But credit should go Watford’s way for the way they picked holes in the United defence to retake the lead and the full-time 3-1 result was just rewards for Walter Mazzarri’s Hornets, who were the only team with a plan on the day.

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