The soccer divide in Manchester is becoming clearer a month into the season.
On the blue side, Pep Guardiola is thriving at the start of his Manchester City career with five wins out of five in the Premier League.
On the red side, Jose Mourinho is discovering the toils David Moyes and Louis van Gaal endured trying to live up to Alex Ferguson’s high achievements during his 26-year reign.
After opening the campaign with three successive wins, the record 20-time English champions have now lost three games in around a week.
A 3-1 loss at Watford on Sunday – ending a 30-year unbeaten run against the club based north of London – followed a losing start to the Europa League on Thursday at Feyenoord in the Netherlands. The miserable sequence started last Saturday by losing the first Manchester derby of the season to Guardiola’s City.
“I feel that some individuals probably feel the pressure and responsibility too much,” Mourinho said at Vicarage Road. “We started the season very well with [winning] the Community Shield and three victories in a row in the Premier League, the best start that a new manager has had at Manchester United I think.
“But was I thinking that my team was ready, perfect, unbeatable? Not at all. I was completely aware that we were not perfect, with lots of players who are not end products and can make their own mistakes.”
Although 18-year-old Marcus Rashford marked his first start of the season for Mourinho by cancelling out Etienne Capoue’s opener, Watford surged back in front in the 83rd minute at Vicarage Road. Substitute Camilo Zuniga scored within a minute of coming off the bench and Troy Deeney netted a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
It’s only five games into the Premier League season but United is already six points behind the leaders – Guardiola’s City.
“We have to improve, no doubt, individually and collectively,” Mourinho said. “And that’s my job.”
If not United could be missing out on the top-four again and face another season out of the Champions League. But there’s a long way to go in the season.Report Typo/Error