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Player Ratings: Watford 2-4 Manchester United

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Another man of the match performance from Ashley Young.

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

José Mourinho’s side keep the pressure on leaders Manchester City with an impressive showing after three goals coming in the first half. An inspired showing from the veteran wingback Ashley Young, Lindelöf had his best game in a United shirt and Jesse Lingard made a strong claim for a starting spot. Here are our player ratings.

De Gea: 6

Had little to do in the game until he had to pick the ball out the back of the net after Troy Deeney’s 77th minute penalty. The United backline held strong until Watford upped the pressure in the last 15 minutes. De Gea was faultless for both of the goals but had nothing else to do.

Victor Lindelöf: 8

Arguably the Swede’s best game in a United shirt. He was dealt with the task of marking in-form Richarlison and did it superbly. In the first half he won every contested ball with the Brazilian. He was flawless throughout and made an important header in the last minutes to deny Deeney a second. A great performance and promising signs going forward.

Chris Smalling: 7

Led the center of United’s back three excellently. It was one of the best performances by the United defense until the last 15 minutes, limiting Watford to virtually nothing on goal.

Marcus Rojo: 6

Started the game well after making his first appearance since his injury last year. He looked comfortable enough until he sloppily gave away Watford’s penalty, getting beat too easily and bringing down Pereyra. However, he got an important 90 minutes under his belt.

Antonio Valencia: 6.5

The captain proved his efficient self again, and got forward more in his advanced wingback position. He provided great cover in the final 15 when United were under more pressure.

Paul Pogba: 7.5

United look back to their early season form with Pogba back in the line-up. The Frenchman seems to relish his role in whatever formation Mourinho plays, complimented by the fantastic Matić, Pogba has a free-run of creativity in the middle. He was less influential in terms of goals and assists tonight, yet still provided some lovely touches and imagination in the game.

Nemanja Matić: 7

Matić had a quieter evening in this encounter. Despite the possession, Watford never really had control of the midfield and the big Serbian stopped anything coming through Andre Gray. Solid performance until he hobbled off after 54 minutes. It will be interesting to see the extent of his injury.

Ashley Young: 9 (Man of the Match)

The standout performer two weeks in a row for Young. His excellent first-half display has epitomized his superb season so far. His first goal was emphatically taken and his second was a thing of beauty. Young enjoyed an advanced position due to the three-back formation Mourinho implemented, he got forward more yet defensively he was assured. A fantastic showing against his former club.

Jesse Lingard: 8

One of Lingard’s best performances this season. He has struggled to capitalize on previous starts in the United side, yet tonight he was excellent. He should have put United four goals up late in the first-half but a wonderful Gomez save denied him. He was enterprising throughout the game, relishing the attacking midfield role. His goal – United’s fourth – secured all three points at a time when Watford were searching for a late equalizer. Picking the ball up inside his own half, he drove determinedly at the Watford backline, beating four or five, before calmly slotting the ball into the net. He may find starting chances hard to come by, but he has made a statement tonight.

Anthony Martial: 8

After a quiet showing on Saturday against Brighton, Martial returned to his normal self. He was a constant menace in the game, and enjoyed the support of Young behind him. He grabbed United’s third goal after latching on to a nicely weighted Lukaku pass, finishing with a striker’s confidence.

Romelu Lukaku: 6.5

Lukaku was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet tonight. Arguably he had United’s easiest chance in the game in the second-half. Rashford’s dogged work to win the ball back set the Belgian up perfectly to slot the ball away, though he delayed, and was eventually denied. His assist to Martial was excellent, controlling a difficult first-time pass into the Frenchman’s path. Hard-working once more, he needs a goal.

Ander Herrera (Sub, 54’): 6

Took control of Matić’s role as the break-up man. He dealt with a more assertive Watford side who pressed more in the second-half. The Spaniard gave his usual energetic performance.

Marcus Rashford (Sub, 65’): 6.5

Rashford gave United some speedy, fresh legs in the last 25 minutes of the game, coming on for Martial. He was equally as enterprising too, and almost grabbed an assist, charging down the Watford backline, he won the ball and set up Lukaku who should have finished.

Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sub, 88’): N/A

Came on in the 88th minute for the goal-scorer Lingard. Too late for a rating.

José Mourinho: 8

The manager decided to go for a surprisingly attacking formation, playing a back-three it allowed Valencia and Young into more advanced positions. His gamble paid off. Young was exquisite and the back-three looked as comfortable as they have all season – albeit, disregarding the last 15 minutes. His concern will be for Nemanja Matić, who hobbled off the field after 54 minutes.