Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says that Paul Pogba’s return to fitness was the “only plus” from his side’s 2-0 defeat at Watford.
The midfielder, who was introduced as a second-half substitute, had not played since the draw with Arsenal on 30 September after having ankle surgery.
Pogba, 26, showed some nice touches despite being unable to help United retrieve the two-goal deficit.
“He gave us that little bit of edge, quality and urgency,” Solskjaer said.
“The last half-an-hour when Paul came on, that was probably the only plus today.
“He played some great passes over the top, he had some nice combinations and he had a chance himself.
“The boy has been working really hard to get fit and maybe he was ready to even play more but let’s see how he reacts to this.”
While United dominated possession, not for the first time this season they struggled to convert that into meaningful chances against a side struggling in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Under Solskjaer, United have won 73% of the Premier League games in which they have had less possession than their opponents, compared to just 36% when they have enjoyed more.
“In the first half it could have easily have been my testimonial,” added United’s Norwegian boss.
“It was very subdued, slow, no urgency, no tempo and the only encouragement their crowd got was when we gave them set-plays. And we gifted them two goals in the second half as well.”
United, who were delayed arriving at Vicarage Road, went into the game on the back of a six-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
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However, the defeat at the Hornets leaves them eighth on 25 points, their lowest points tally at this stage of a top-flight campaign since 1989-90.
“We were high in confidence because we’ve done well lately but it just wasn’t there,” Solskjaer added.
“There was no intent or urgency to make us deserve to win the game.
“You can’t blame the traffic. We were a little bit late but an hour here should be enough to prepare.
“There’s no excuses at all. We prepared well and there’s nothing I can put my finger on.”