Jose Mourinho hailed Marouane Fellaini as the cure to Manchester United’s defensive ailments following another impressive display from the midfielder in a narrow victory at Watford.
The Red Devils prevailed 2-1 at Vicarage Road as first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling were enough for the visitors to end Watford’s perfect start to the Premier League campaign.
Andre Gray struck in the second half but United hung on at the end despite Nemanja Matic’s stoppage-time dismissal to pick up back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.
Fellaini’s header set-up what proved to be Smalling’s match-winning volley and also did well in his position as a shield to United’s often-nervy back line.
The 30-year-old signed a new deal at Old Trafford over the summer and came into the side for the win at Burnley ahead the international break, with Mourinho’s side having lost to Brighton and Tottenham before visiting Turf Moor.
“We made defensive mistakes against Brighton and against Tottenham,” Mourinho said.
“Against Brighton we didn’t deserve to win, against Tottenham I think we did – but (in the two games we conceded) six goals and made defensive mistakes.
“Then we go to two matches away, difficult matches. I felt that my central defenders need, especially in this moment of a bit of instability, they need somebody to support them and give them the first wall, physically.
“Marouane is giving us more than that, he is giving that but also quality and simplicity. He is playing simple and well. I’m really happy.”
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