Manchester United bust Watford’s bubble on Saturday with a win 2-1 to relieve the pressure on beleaguered manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho’s future at the club continued to be an issue coming into the tricky tie, but two goals in three first-half minutes from in-form Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling gave them valuable breathing space at half-time and ultimately paved the way to a victory that ended Watford’s perfect start to the season.
After Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez had a goal ruled out for offside, United, backed by their vocal travelling fans, made their pressure count in the 35th minute.
Watford failed to clear a free-kick and when the ball came back in, Lukaku was on hand to bundle the ball in off his midriff to score his seventh goal as many games for club and country this season.
Foster then kept out a powerful Pogba drive but United were two up three minutes later when Smalling controlled a Fellaini header following a corner, and smashed the ball home.
Javi Gracia’s side came right back into the game in the 65th minute when Abdoulaye Doucoure picked out Gray, who smashed home, giving De Gea no chance.
That goal infused the team and the fans with renewed belief and United suddenly looked nervy.
Matic was sent off for a second yellow card, and De Gea pulled off an outstanding save to tip away a Christian Kabasele header in the dying seconds as Watford suffered their first loss this campaign.