It took an own goal from Lewis Dunk for Manchester United to overcome a stubborn Brighton and Hove Albion in Saturday’s 1-0 victory, and manager Jose Mourinho will be well aware that his side must up their game if they are to beat high-flying Watford on Tuesday night.
The Red Devils travel to Vicarage Road trailing arch-rivals and league leaders Manchester City by eight points and know that only a win will do if they are to sustain their challenge for the title.
In-demand boss Marco Silva has worked wonders since taking charge of the Hornets back in May, leading them up to eighth place in the table, just four points adrift of the final Champions League spot.
There are no fresh injury concerns for United ahead of Tuesday’s clash, although Mourinho is unlikely to be able to call upon centre-back pairing Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, as they continue their recovery from their respective injuries.
Having made a slow start to his Old Trafford career, summer signing Victor Lindelof put in a Man of the Match performance on Saturday and is likely to keep his place at the heart of the defence, alongside Chris Smalling. Paul Pogba completed the entire 90 minutes against the Seagulls and could expect to start once again at Vicarage Road, alongside the ever-impressive Nemanja Matic.
Up front, Zlatan Ibrahimovic put in an eye-catching 30-minute cameo performance on Saturday and could be in line to start his first match of the season.
Watford, meanwhile, will be hoping to secure a home win over United for the second season running, having beaten Mourinho’s men 3-1 at Vicarage Road at the start of last season.
Silva will be able to call upon forward Troy Deeney for the first time in three league matches, following his suspension, although Andre Gray would expect to start in his place up front following his strike in the Hornets’ 3-0 victory over Newcastle on Saturday.
Mourinho’s men would do well to keep an eye on central midfielder Will Hughes who, after a slow start to life in the top flight, has scored in each of his side’s previous two matches.
United will come up against a familiar face in the shape of former Red Devil Tom Cleverley, although ex-Red Craig Cathcart is likely to miss out. With the rest of the current top four all facing seemingly winnable matches, Mourinho will be well aware that only three points will do at Vicarage Road if they are to hunt down their noisy neighbours.