Jose Mourinho is confident Manchester United will not suffer any hangover after their winning start was halted by galling back-to-back defeats.
After victory in the Community Shield and the Portuguese’s first three Premier League matches at the helm, United fell to a 2-1 loss at home Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Saturday.
That was compounded on Thursday as under-performing United started their Europa League campaign with a whimper, falling to a late 1-0 loss at Feyenoord.
It was a sixth successive European trip without a win and a second successive loss at the United helm, but the defeats have not made Mourinho overly concerned.
“When we won the Community Shield and the three Premier League matches, I was not on the moon,” the Portuguese said when asked whether the defeats had underlined the scale of the challenge ahead of him.
“I was not saying that we are a phenomenal team and we are going to destroy every opponent.
“I always said it was a very good start but I was never on the moon. I know that the situation is not click your fingers and everybody is perfect.
“But, to be honest, I think we didn’t play phenomenal matches in these two defeats, but in both I think it is a punishment for the team because we deserved more than the results we got.”
The two defeats in quick succession have, though, increased the scrutiny ahead of Sunday’s return to Premier League action at Watford.
A much-changed side is expected at Vicarage Road after Mourinho made eight alterations in Rotterdam.
Mourinho said: “I think the game on Sunday will be an independent game. It is a new event.
“It is another match. It starts minute zero at 0-0 so I think it has nothing to do with the previous two matches.
“But obviously when you lose matches the mood, the feeling, is not the same. That’s normal.
“But I think we are experienced players and the players are very good guys and I know they want to win and work, so that’s what we have to do.”
Mourinho underlined the importance of being mentally and physically ready for the trip to Hertfordshire, where Paul Pogba will likely be one of those to retain their place.
Signed for a world-record fee, the France midfielder was anonymous for large parts of the encounter in Holland.
“I don’t like to individualise too much because I answer and your mate comes with another name,” Mourinho said when asked about Pogba. “It’s something I don’t like.
“I think he was like the team. In the first half they were in control but were playing half pace.
“The second half was when they increased intensity and that was when they conceded the goal.”