Connect in the back of the net

Jose Mourinho is ostensibly getting hot under the collar after Manchester United suffered their third consecutive defeat in all competitions- a grim reality check of what has become of the club since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement three years ago.

Mourinho registered the perfect start to the season by clinching the Community Shield and winning his first three Premier League matches, but the Portuguese seems to have lost his mojo with three losses on the trot against Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford.

The Hornets opened the scoring through Etienne Capoue in the 34th minute, but Marcus Rashford leveled the score seventeen minutes after the interval.

Juan Zuniga gave the home side the advantage with seven minutes left on the clock, before Troy Deeney further punished United for their profligacy with a spot kick finish deep into injury time.

Here are three observations from Manchester United’s defeat at Vicarage Road.


Pogba stifled

For all the money than was spent on his record breaking transfer down to the very last pence, Paul Pogba has yet to exhibit his full potential: not because he can’t, but by and large, because Mourinho has stifled the midfielder by deploying him in a deeper, unfamiliar role.

The 23-year old registered a ground breaking performance on the opening day against Southampton, but has more or less been a mere passenger in the team since.

The Manchester United gaffer has in the last few games assigned the France international a deep lying role in midfield alongside Marouane Fellaini, raising questions aplenty as to why Mourinho isn’t bringing the best out of the world’s most expensive signing.

The solution however lies in finding the right midfield partnership so much as to allow Pogba to venture forward in an attacking role: something the Manchester United manager needs to do before the wolves start circling.


Rooney ineffectual

Jose Mourinho has won eight League titles in four European countries due to his ability to enforce his winning philosophy to the latter-in this case ‘philosophy’ is used cautiously without serving the risk of sounding like Louis van Gaal- remember him?

Mourinho does what is best for Mourinho, and more often than not, what is best for Mourinho is best for the club.

His ruthless ability to effect unpopular decisions- such as benching Iker Casillas and John Terry in Real Madrid and Chelsea respectively- has epitomized his trophy laden career. Be that as it may, for once the Portuguese manager is finding it hard to stick to his system.

Being his maiden season at Old Trafford, Mourinho could understandably want to win over the heart of the United fan base by maintaining Wayne Rooney as his skipper.

However, his latest lackluster performance against Watford should be enough to displace him from the starting xi, in part working to Pogba’s advantage.


Individual errors

Of the three losses since his appointment as Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho’s charges have lost due to their own carelessness and ineptitude, rather than their opponents’ brilliance.

Luke Shaw and Marouane Fellaini may have been at fault during the loss to Watford, but the individual errors shouldn’t overshadow their innate abilities on the turf.

Manchester United may be broken, but they are surely not destroyed. Their next outing is away to Northampton on Wednesday night in the League Cup.


Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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