Premier League
Man Utd2Watford0

Manchester United 2-0 Watford

Juan Mata puts Manchester United ahead against Watford
Juan Mata has scored in successive Premier League games for the first time since September 2015

Manchester United moved one point adrift of a top-four place as Anthony Martial marked his return with a goal and an assist in a victory over Watford.

United, now unbeaten in their past 16 Premier League games, took the lead when Martial set up Juan Mata to finish from close range.

Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes then made fine saves to deny Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But Martial, making his first league start since 15 January, sealed victory for United in their last league game for three weeks when he fired home after a driving run.

Victory briefly took United up to fifth, but they finished the day back in sixth after Liverpool's 2-0 win over Tottenham.

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Mourinho pleased with 'phenomenal' first half

United sign off in style

This was a hugely satisfactory day for United, who secured a routine win to maintain their push for a top-four finish.

And Jose Mourinho could have his first major silverware as Red Devils manager by the time they play their next league game, against Bournemouth on 4 March.

After home and away matches against Saint-Etienne in the Europa League, which sandwich an FA Cup visit to Blackburn, United face Southampton in the EFL Cup final on 26 February.

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Anthony Martial had eight touches in the Watford penalty area as he scored one goal and set up another

And picking his team for Wembley could prove a difficult job for Mourinho.

Martial did everything asked of him on his return in place of Marcus Rashford, while Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick were unused substitutes.

Watford undone by slick hosts

The Hornets arrived at Old Trafford having won back-to-back league games, which included a victory at title hopefuls Arsenal

And Walter Mazzarri's side started brightly, pushing forward with pace and creating chances.

Yet United would have been out of sight but for Gomes - the Watford keeper at his best to deny Pogba and Ibrahimovic before the interval.

Pogba's first-time shot was parried by Gomes' strong hand, while Ibrahimovic was left scratching his head after the Brazilian kept out his close-range header moments before Mata broke the deadlock.

It was by no means a quiet day for United counterpart David de Gea. At 1-0, the Spaniard produced a spectacular stop to keep out Mauro Zarate's free-kick.

And it could have been a different story had Jose Holebas' thunderous effort hit the target instead of falling narrowly wide when the game was goalless.

Man of the match - Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial celebrates scoring against Watford
The 21-year-old made the most of his return to the starting line-up. First he sent in the cross from which Mata opened the scoring and, having proved a constant nuisance, intelligently doubled United's lead

'We were phenomenal' - manager reaction

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: "In the first half, the football was fabulous. The fans got behind the team just before we scored the goal because we were phenomenal.

"We are not a team scoring lots of goals so it is important to keep the clean sheets. I am really happy with the performance.

"Martial deserves the chance. He has worked harder than ever in the last two weeks in the way I like - silent but hard."

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Mistakes cost Watford a draw - Mazzarri

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri: "It is a pity because we started very well. The important thing that we have to avoid is losing too many balls in the midfield. This is what cost us the result today.

"We had a chance with Jose Holebas, but, after they scored, for five to 10 minutes we lost a little bit of focus and especially defensively we committed some mistakes."

Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes: "We didn't show up in the first half. Second half was much better, we competed with them, but by then it was too late.

"We are disappointed but when we lose, we lose together.

"We are still looking up the table because we have quality. When we show up, we compete with anyone."

Longest unbeaten run since Ferguson - stats

  • United are on their longest unbeaten run in the top-flight since March 2013.
  • They are the first team to win 2,000 points in the Premier League.
  • Watford have lost on each of their four Premier League visits to Old Trafford.
  • The Hornets have conceded more goals away at United than any against other side (11).
  • Martial has been involved in more Premier League goals for United than any other player since his debut (22 - 14 goals, 8 assists).
  • Since making his debut in August 2011, Mata has been involved in 87 Premier League goals (45 goals, 42 assists), more than any other midfielder.

What's next?

Thursday night football returns to Old Trafford as United welcome Saint-Etienne (20:05 GMT) in a Europa League last-32 first-leg tie.

Watford, who are out of the FA Cup, have a two-week break before they return to Premier League action at home to West Ham on 25 February (17:30 GMT).

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A ValenciaBooked at 90mins
  • 3Bailly
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 21Herrera
  • 6Pogba
  • 8MataSubstituted forFellainiat 72'minutes
  • 22MkhitaryanSubstituted forLingardat 89'minutes
  • 11MartialSubstituted forRashfordat 81'minutes
  • 9Ibrahimovic

Substitutes

  • 10Rooney
  • 14Lingard
  • 16Carrick
  • 19Rashford
  • 20Romero
  • 27Fellaini
  • 36Darmian

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 4Kaboul
  • 5Prödl
  • 3BritosSubstituted forJanmaatat 45'minutes
  • 15CathcartSubstituted forSuccessat 83'minutes
  • 29Capoue
  • 8Cleverley
  • 25Holebas
  • 20ZárateSubstituted forOkakaat 74'minutes
  • 21Niang
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 6Mariappa
  • 10Success
  • 11Behrami
  • 16Doucouré
  • 22Janmaat
  • 33Okaka
  • 34Arlauskis
Referee:
Robert Madley
Attendance:
75,301

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home22
Away9
Shots on Target
Home11
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away1
Fouls
Home10
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 2, Watford 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Watford 0.

Foul by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).

José Holebas (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Jesse Lingard replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) because of an injury.

Foul by Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United).

Isaac Success (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Younes Kaboul.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by M'Baye Niang (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Isaac Success replaces Craig Cathcart.

Attempt saved. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Marcus Rashford replaces Anthony Martial.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Younes Kaboul.

Attempt saved. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Attempt missed. Daryl Janmaat (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Stefano Okaka.

Foul by Anthony Martial (Manchester United).

M'Baye Niang (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Stefano Okaka replaces Mauro Zárate.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

Attempt saved. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Younes Kaboul.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Marouane Fellaini replaces Juan Mata.

Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Daryl Janmaat (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by M'Baye Niang with a cross.

Attempt saved. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Antonio Valencia.

Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).

Mauro Zárate (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Younes Kaboul.

Attempt blocked. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Younes Kaboul (Watford).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea24192351173459
2Tottenham25148346182850
3Arsenal25155554282650
4Liverpool25147454302449
5Man City24154549292049
6Man Utd25139338211748
7Everton25118640271341
8West Brom2510783431337
9Stoke258893036-632
10West Ham2595113443-932
11Southampton2586112831-330
12Watford2586112942-1330
13Burnley2492132635-929
14Bournemouth2475123547-1226
15Middlesbrough25410111927-822
16Leicester2456132441-1721
17Swansea2463152954-2521
18Hull2555152249-2720
19Crystal Palace2554163246-1419
20Sunderland2554162446-2219
View full Premier League table

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