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Man Utd draw with Watford: Four things we learned as Ralf Rangnick’s side suffer setback | Football | Sport


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Manchester United saw there hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League dealt a huge blow by Watford on Saturday. Ralf Rangnick’s side went into the game on a high after a respectable 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in midweek. Yet they couldn’t claim all three points on a frustrating afternoon at Old Trafford and Express Sport will now take a look at four things we learned from the contest.

United are too wasteful

United should have put at least three past Watford on the day.

Cristiano Ronaldo was guilty of some bad finishing, with the Portugal international continuing to look a shadow of the deadly marksman he used to be, hitting the post and seeing an effort cleared off the line. A few years ago, they’d have gone in.

Bruno Fernandes also continued to miss sitters, even if his creative instincts means he deserves credit.

And Paul Pogba and Anthony Elanga squandered good chances to put United ahead while the scores were level.

The Red Devils certainly need a deadly No 9 come the end of the campaign to finish some of the chances they create. This game, really, should have been dead and buried by the interval.

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United were wrong to drop Sancho

While United were positive throughout the match at Old Trafford, displaying some fine attacking football even if they didn’t always get the reward.

But one player they missed was Jadon Sancho.

The England international has been coming good of late, showing some of his best football since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

And while Anthony Elanga did well, United missed Sancho causing havoc on the opposite flank. When he came on, he lifted the team and their spirits.

The former Manchester City academy star is undroppable at present and Rangnick should have started him for the match against Roy Hodgson’s side.


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Defence look good without Maguire

United chose to tinker with their defence for the match against Watford.

Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw were both dropped, with Victor Lindelof moving back to centre-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka deployed at right-back and Alex Telles put in on the opposite flank.

And United looked all the better for the changes, in stark contrast to how uncomfortable they looked against Atletico Madrid in midweek.

Lindelof and Raphael Varane were solid in the heart of their defence.

And Telles and Wan-Bissaka both went forward with vigour, causing Watford problems with their speed and directness, before the latter was substituted for Luke Shaw.

Rangnick has guts

While United weren’t at their ruthless best against Watford, Rangnick does deserve credit for showing ambition.

With the Red Devils chasing a late winner, they decided to roll the dice.

That meant United having Ronaldo, Fernandes, Pogba, Elanga and Sancho all on the pitch at the same time.

And while Watford were able to claim a draw, it was still brave of Rangnick to go for the jugular as the match went on.

Whether this result ends up costing the club a place in next season’s Champions League, however, remains to be seen.

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