Watford thrash Manchester United to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the brink

Red Devils fall to disastrous 4-1 defeat at Vicarage Road that puts Norwegian manager under intense pressure

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left clinging to his job after his team collapsed to a 4-1 defeat at Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.

United travelled to Vicarage Road having lost four of their last six Premier League games before the international break and this heavy defeat only piled more pressure on the beleaguered Norwegian.

They were outfought and out-thought by Claudio Ranieri's Watford, who came into the match after losing four out of their past five league matches themselves.

The defeat leaves United down in seventh place, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea. Watford are in 16th place, four points clear of the bottom three.

The Hornets should have been ahead early on when Scott McTominay bundled King over to concede a penalty.

Ismaila Sarr's kick was saved by De Gea before Kiko Femenia turned in the rebound, but the kick had to be re-taken due to encroachment. The Spaniard then saved Sarr's second effort.

Watford, though, dominated the first half and thoroughly deserved their two-goal lead at half-time, courtesy of goals from Joshua King and Sarr.

The visitors pulled a goal back early in the second half through substitute Donny van de Beek but could not find an equaliser and captain Harry Maguire was sent off with just over 20 minutes to go.

Substitute Joao Pedro finished off United's hopes with a late third and Emmanuel Dennis rubbed salt into Solskjaer's wounds, making it 4-1.

“There's not much to say — it was embarrassing to see Man United play like we did today,” said De Gea after the match. It's not acceptable — the way we were playing and doing things. It's easy to blame the manager or the staff but sometimes it's the players. We need to show much more than we are doing.

“Embarrassing first half — we could've conceded four goals in 45 minutes. It was hard to watch the team playing today — it was nightmare after nightmare.

“We are trying to give our best and fight for the team but for sure something is very wrong. You can see in the games — it's very low level, very poor. Sorry to the fans, once again.

“The results are not good enough, we know that. We’ve gone 30 games unbeaten away from home and now we’ve lost two on the bounce and conceded four goals in both of them, so of course something’s wrong.”

Solkskjaer admitted there was no excuses for such a performance and also apologised to supporters. “I feel for the fans and I feel the same as them – we’re embarrassed by losing the way we do," he said.

“We know we are in a very bad run and a bad situation, but that’s football and I know they’ll support whoever is on the pitch every day, and sometimes you’ve got to say sorry.”

The horror afternoon for United was summed up when Maguire was sent-off after being shown two yellow cards in seven minutes - the second for a scissor-like challenge on Tom Cleverley.

The defender had come under criticism for his part in goals conceded in the 4-2 defeat at Leicester, the 5-0 home thrashing by Liverpool and the 2-0 loss to Manchester City in recent weeks.

Watford v Manchester United ratings: Dennis 10, King 8; Fernandes 3, Ronaldo 4

Player ratings from the match can be seen in the picture gallery below. To view the next image, click on the arrows or swipe if on a mobile device.

Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:35 AM