A lacklustre Manchester United booked their place within the FA Cup fourth spherical as they edged to a 1-Zero win at residence to Watford.
Having been well-beaten by Manchester City within the Carabao Cup this week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s much-changed aspect bought United again to profitable methods, with stand-in captain Scott McTominay scoring the winner.
Donny Van De Beek, Jesse Lingard and Brandon Williams had been amongst these introduced in in opposition to the Hornets however the sheer variety of adjustments meant the hosts struggled for coherency in a forgettable third-round encounter.
There had been excessive hopes when academy graduate McTominay’s downward header went in off the far publish, however Solskjaer’s males didn’t put their foot down as Watford focused their set-piece frailties.
Lately-appointed Hornets boss Xisco Munoz noticed his aspect push till the tip at an empty Previous Trafford, however they didn’t create clear-cut openings in opposition to a United aspect that by no means bought going.
Solskjaer shall be relieved to be in Monday’s fourth-round draw after a match that had began with a lot promise.
Daniel James fired a shot sure for the highest nook till Daniel Bachmann’s close to publish save.
The Watford goalkeeper pushed behind for what proved a expensive fifth-minute nook, with McTominay assembly Alex Telles’ ball with a header into the bottom that bounced in off the far publish.
United continued to look harmful however their comfortable underbelly from set-pieces gave Watford hope, with Will Hughes’ free-kick flicked on and Adam Masina was denied by a combination of Axel Tuanzebe and Dean Henderson.
Eric Bailly headed broad from a nook when the hosts returned to the assault, however their defence was wanting uneasy and the Ivorian confronted handball appeals after some penalty field pinball.
Ismaila Sarr – a reported United goal final summer season – was exhibiting flashes of hazard and Nathaniel Chalobah fired a low shot broad as United continued to lack attacking missing fluidity.
However Solskjaer’s aspect did click on into gear impressively as half-time approached and a effective workforce transfer ended Van De Beek sending a luxurious flick via for Juan Mata to get a shot away on Bachmann’s aim.
The unremarkable first half led to an enforced modified for United after Bailly was caught behind the pinnacle by goalkeeper Henderson when punching clear.
After prolonged therapy, the defender walked off groggily and was changed by Harry Maguire, who took the captain’s armband again off McTominay on the break.
The second interval bought off to a good begin, with Joao Pedro stretching to get an effort on Henderson’s aim in-between comfortably saved James and Mason Greenwood makes an attempt on the different finish.
Solskjaer launched Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in a bid so as to add some elevated intent to the hosts’ assault, with substitute Ken Sema’s set-pieces wanting Watford’s more than likely avenue to a leveller.
Maguire had a header and Rashford was denied by a low Bachmann save because the match entered the ultimate 10 minutes, with Watford substitute Joseph Hungbo seeing a strike deflected broad as they failed to seek out an equaliser.