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AFP
November 28, 2017

Jose ponders right blend for Watford

Sports

AFP
November 28, 2017

LONDON: The goals having dried up for Manchester United in their recent matches, manager Jose Mourinho will hope to find the right attacking formula at high-flying Watford on Tuesday.
It took a fortuitous Lewis Dunk own goal for United to beat Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 on Saturday and they had paid for their profligacy in a 1-0 Champions League defeat at Basel on their previous outing.
Mourinho said he had played with “too many attackers” against Brighton after aligning Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata behind Romelu Lukaku and now seems likely to change tack.
“(Against Brighton) our creation was poor,” he said. “The three players that played with Lukaku did not get the ball. We weren’t successful on the one-against-one. “Marcus did not have a happy match at all. So we did not have that creation and could expect some defensive problems against a good team on the counter-attack.”
United lost 1-0 at Chelsea at the start of November and only once this month, in a 4-1 home win over Newcastle United, have they exhibited the kind of slick attacking football they showcased earlier in the campaign.
But with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool all dropping points over the weekend, United are now out on their own in pursuit of runaway leaders Manchester City.
They continue to trail Pep Guardiola’s men by eight points, but as City are not in action until Wednesday, when they host Southampton, United can apply some pressure by closing to within five points of top spot. With the Manchester derby at Old Trafford looming on December 10, Mourinho says he will be happy to pick up points however they are obtained.
Mourinho does not have happy memories of Vicarage Road, where he saw United succumb to a 3-1 defeat on their last visit to Watford in September last year.
Marco Silva’s side underwent a slump in late October and early November, losing three successive league games. But they have won comfortably on their

last two outings, beating West Ham United 2-0 and then winning 3-0 at Newcastle on Saturday, which left them in the lofty position of eighth in the table.
The win at Newcastle was Watford’s biggest away victory in the top flight since a 5-1 success at Chelsea in May 1986.
Though Watford were trounced 6-0 by City in September, they have doled out some bloody noses on home turf, holding Liverpool to a 3-3 draw on the season’s opening weekend and beating Arsenal 2-1 last month.
Villas-Boas takes blame with China future in balance: Haunted Andre Villas-Boas shouldered the blame after he failed to inspire big-spending Shanghai SIPG to silverware in his first season in China, with his future likely to be resolved this week.
The former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager refused to say if he would stay on as coach of the Chinese Super League (CSL) club following Sunday’s FA Cup final defeat to rivals Shanghai Shenhua. Some Chinese media previously said that the 40-year-old Portuguese had to win at least one title at SIPG. But the season ended in disappointment, with the team finishing second in the CSL behind Guangzhou Evergrande and going out in the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League.
Villas-Boas last week said his future was already decided, irrespective of the result of the FA Cup, and following the latest disappointment he repeated that “SIPG know my decision and soon you will know about it”. His side, featuring 60-million-euro signing Oscar and fellow Brazilian star Hulk, won Sunday’s thrilling second leg 3-2 at home to Shenhua but lost the tie 3-3 on away goals. “Our ambition was to win trophies and we fell short of this,” Villas-Boas, who looked shell-shocked, said.