Manchester United face a difficult trip to an in-form Watford side on Tuesday night and cannot afford to drop any points whatsoever ahead of their clash with Manchester City last month.
Pep Guardiola’s men very briefly looked like they might have dropped points for the first time since August against Huddersfield Town, but their second half recovery underlined the importance of Man United dealing with lesser teams in the same way.
The gap between the two sides remains eight points and any bigger deficit would surely spell the end to United’s title aspirations.
With that in mind, here are three players who Jose Mourinho must start at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night.
The Argentine was handed a rest at the weekend following his exertions against FC Basel, and supporters will be desperate to see him return to the back-line against Watford, especially with Chris Smalling looking shaky following the international break.
Following seven months on the sidelines, Rojo picked up virtually from where he left off in Switzerland, producing a commanding, elegant defensive display. Now is the time to reassert himself on the Premier League.
Nemanja Matic, for the first time in his United career, looked slightly stagnant in possession over the weekend and it meant the ball didn’t travel through the lines with its usual urgency and regularity.
Needless to say, Mourinho cannot afford another predictable midfield display against an energetic, organised Watford outfit and may, in turn, hand Marouane Fellaini a chance to start alongside Paul Pogba for the first time in the Premier League this season whilst keeping Matic fresh for the clash with Arsenal on Saturday.
The Englishman injected life into an otherwise languid attacking performance over the weekend, forcing a winning goal in the second half to spare United’s blushes.