Jose Mourinho says Manchester United’s humiliation at Watford underlines how much work needs to be done to transform his spluttering side into title contenders.
Mourinho’s men crashed to their third successive defeat on Sunday as Watford’s shock 3-1 victory condemned United and their manager to an historically bad day.
It was the first time United had lost to Watford in 30 years and the first occasion Mourinho had been beaten in three consecutive matches since 2002 when he was in charge at Porto.
After defeats against bitter rivals Manchester City in the Premier League and then Feyenoord in the Europa League, all talk of a United renaissance has evaporated within the space of eight days.
But Mourinho insists he was already aware of United’s flaws during the three-match winning run that started his Old Trafford reign.
Specifically, he is concerned about the fragile way his players respond to adversity and the defence’s habit of making careless mistakes when they don’t adhere to his instructions.
“We started the season very well with the Community Shield and three victories in a row in the Premier League, the best start that a new manager has had at Manchester United I think,” Mourinho said.
“But was I thinking that my team was ready, perfect, unbeatable? Not at all.
“I was completely aware that we were not perfect, with lots of players who are not end products and can make their own mistakes.
“My doubt was how they could cope when the negative moment arrived. Some individuals feel the pressure too much.
“I know what is in my hands, the improvement of the team and individuals. I have to try to stop defensive mistakes.
“I knew I had a task. It is tactical but also mental. We have to improve no doubt.”