Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claims his side’s attacking efforts would be hailed more if someone else was in charge at Old Trafford.
United completely outplayed Watford in Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win as goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial took Mourinho’s men to within a point of the Champions League places.
Their display belied Mourinho’s reputation as a defence-minded manager and he said United would get more credit for the quality of their football if he was not sitting in the dug-out.
“It was a very good (performance),” he said. “It was the kind of football that if it was somebody else’s team, you would say it was ‘art’, but because it was my team, you will just say it was ‘very good’. But that is fine.”
Mata’s 32nd-minute goal helped United break through Watford’s defensive resistance on an afternoon when Mourinho’s men had the run of the pitch.
Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was the busiest man in the stadium and after initially keeping United at bay, he could do nothing as Mata slid home Martial’s cross from just three yards out.
Martial had been one of those running Watford ragged and when he made it 2-0 on the hour, the game was well and truly over.
It was United’s fourth consecutive clean sheet and while that pleased Mourinho, he knows the club’s fans demand to be entertained more than anything else.
“We are not a team scoring lots of goals so it is important to keep the clean sheets,” Mourinho told his post-game press conference. “I am really happy with the performance.
“When I got the job they were saying at Manchester United you need to play football in a certain way and I agree.
“Sixteen (league) games unbeaten is an amazing record, but it would be the perfect record with two or three fewer draws at home. We have an amazing record of being unbeaten, but we should have more.”
Martial has recently been in Mourinho’s bad books, with the United manager hitting out at the player’s agent for openly discussing interest in his client from other clubs.
The 21-year-old French forward had not featured in United’s previous three league games, but he was back to his best against Watford, much to his manager’s delight.
“I want the Martial of the last two weeks in training,” said Mourinho, whose side remain sixth.
“Because then he performs naturally like he did here. He’s working very well. I gave him the chance to start.
“Anthony needs to feel that I am looking at him and that I know he did well in training. I gave him his chance and he played well.”
Watford battled manfully throughout the game, but offered little going forward apart from the occasional foray from on-loan AC Milan striker M’Baye Niang and Jose Holebas.
A fine second-half free-kick from Mauro Zarate that David de Gea did well to block was the brightest moment as Watford’s recent impressive recent run ended following consecutive victories over Arsenal and Burnley.
Manager Walter Mazzari said: “Today we played as a group in a different way. Some of the chances United had were only because of things we did wrong.
“We need to grow as a team altogether. Passing more and taking less touches on the ball. If we didn’t do these things then we have a chance to get at least a point.
“I want us to fight in each game, have the same intensity and play each game better. We started very well. But during the game we kept the ball too much in midfield.
“We lost the ball too easily and gave them chances. If it wasn’t for our mistake for their second goal, maybe we could have got a point.”