United celebrate scoring a goal against Watford.

Monday Briefing: United news from the weekend

Your Monday Briefing provides a concise and informative round-up of Manchester United news from the weekend, keeping you up to date with the club…

WIN AT WATFORD
There’s only one place to start and that’s Saturday evening, when first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling sealed a second successive away win for the Reds in the Premier League. Andre Gray pulled one back in the second half for Watford but the Hornets suffered their first defeat of the season as United, who had Nemanja Matic sent off for a second bookable offence late on, held on to secure all three points.

JOSE: I’M VERY HAPPY WITH OUR SPIRIT
Jose Mourinho was full of praise for the character shown by his team in the victory at Vicarage Road. “I’m very happy with the points, I’m very happy with the spirit,” Jose said afterwards. “But I feel a bit frustrated because we had everything in the first half to kill the game.” The boss also highlighted the contributions of Lukaku, David De Gea and Marouane Fellaini in what was a hard-fought win. 

Highlights: Watford 1 United 2Video

POGBA REACHES MILESTONE
Saturday’s game marked Paul Pogba’s 100th outing in a United shirt over his two spells at the club. The Frenchman has played 65 times in the Premier League, as well as making eight appearances in the League Cup, five in the FA Cup, 16 in the Europa League, five in the Champions League and one in last season’s UEFA Super Cup. The midfielder has won 60 per cent of his matches and scored 17 goals for the Reds.

WHAT IS RASHFORD’S BEST POSITION?
Marcus Rashford may have sat out Saturday’s match at Watford, as he started a three-game domestic ban following his red card at Burnley, but his most effective position for both United and England was up for discussion prior to the game. The boss gave a detailed response on where he feels our no.10 can have an impact. “When we play with three up top – because sometimes we also play with two - our three attacking players are not wingers,” he explained. “They’re not wide or open all the time. They have the freedom to come and play in between positions, and any one of the three positions is a good position for him [Marcus].”

LUKAKU: JOSE DESERVES MORE RESPECT
In an exclusive interview with us, Romelu Lukaku described the unity between the United players, manager and fans as “something beautiful” and praised Mourinho for the way in which he is trying to help the team improve. “The manager is a winner, a real personality,” our no.9 said. “He’s just trying to build a fortress out of this football club and we as players know that.”

UNDER-23S DRAW WITH READING
Ricky Sbragia’s side maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a competitive draw against Reading at Old Trafford on Friday night. Ben House headed the visitors in front after 11 minutes but Josh Bohui’s first goal at Under-23s level, midway through the second half, earned a point for the young Reds from an absorbing Premier League 2 encounter.

ROJO AND DALOT PLAYED AT OLD TRAFFORD
First-team defenders Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot made guest appearances for the Under-23s in that aforementioned match, as the pair stepped up their recovery from injury. Summer signing Dalot was retained in Sbragia’s line-up after making his first United outing against Stoke City two weeks earlier and played 90 minutes. However, Rojo came off with an apparent problem in the 54th minute, although coach Sbragia later told MUTV that he thought the Argentinian would be okay after spending time with the medical staff.

UNDER-18S WIN A SEVEN-GOAL THRILLER
Our Under-18s were involved in an absolute cracker on Saturday, beating Blackburn Rovers 4-3 in an enthralling encounter at the Aon Training Complex. Mason Greenwood completed a hat-trick when scoring the winner late on and Anthony Elanga netted for the first time at that level as Neil Ryan’s side returned to winning ways in the Under-18 Premier League North, after losing 3-1 at Middlesbrough in the previous game.

CONCERN FOR BORTHWICK-JACKSON
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was taken off on a stretcher in a neck brace following eight minutes of treatment for a head injury while playing for his loan club Scunthorpe United against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. The defender was involved in a collision as he went up for a header and, such was the concern for his condition, he was treated by medical staff from both teams. The 21-year-old was substituted on 31 minutes before Scunthorpe went on to win 3-2 to earn their first League One win under new boss Stuart McCall. We wish Cameron a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the pitch soon.

FIVE OTHER LOAN STARLETS IN ACTION
Elsewhere, Dean Henderson was in goal for Sheffield United in their 1-0 defeat at Bristol City and Axel Tuanzebe played the full game in Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers in the Championship. Kieran O’Hara made a string of fine saves but couldn’t prevent Macclesfield Town from losing 2-1 at home to League Two leaders Lincoln City.

In Scotland, Demi Mitchell impressed on the left wing and got 90 more minutes under his belt as Hearts maintained their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 1-0 win at Motherwell. Matty Willock was a late substitute as his new St Mirren boss, Oran Kearney, secured a goalless draw against 10-man Celtic in his first game in charge on Friday night, but James Wilson didn’t feature for Aberdeen in their 1-1 draw at St Johnstone.

Meanwhile, Tim Fosu-Mensah was an unused substitute for Fulham in their 3-0 Premier League defeat at Manchester City, and Joel Pereira didn’t play for Vitoria Setubal in their 3-3 draw at Nacional in the Portuguese League Cup group phase.

SHAW TO START IN SWITZERLAND
The boss also confirmed after Saturday’s win at Watford that Luke Shaw will return at left-back in place of Ashley Young for Wednesday’s Champions League group-stage opener against Young Boys in Berne. “They both are doing well, they both are different players, they both understand that one is a young player and the other one is the experienced one, and it’s good for us to have these two options,” he said. 

WHY YOUNG BOYS COULD BE TIRED
Our next opponents may well be weary in midweek after their Swiss Cup tie at FC Schaffhausen went to extra time on Saturday. Mohamed Ali Camara scored in the 120th minute to seal a 3-2 win for the Swiss Super League leaders, who should be confident heading into their first-ever Champions League group-stage match – against the Reds at the Stade de Suisse.

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