Watford v Man Utd preview: Javi Gracia plays down United 'crisis'
Last Updated: 15/09/18 8:36am
Watford manager Javi Gracia has played down suggestions Saturday's opponents Manchester United are in a crisis.
With four wins from four games, Watford sit in third place in the Premier League - level with Liverpool and Chelsea - heading into the clash at Vicarage Road.
United, meanwhile, have lost two of their league matches against Brighton and Tottenham.
"I don't understand that word 'crisis'. I don't know if they are in crisis," Gracia said.
"I only know they have a very good squad and they can choose different players, most of them internationals. I'm sure they play with 11 very good players and it will be very hard for us.
"But at this moment, playing at home, we feel we have the confidence to compete and to try to get points.
"The results help us to feel we can do it, but I know it's only the feeling, because you have to do many things to win."
Luke Shaw, meanwhile, could feature for United at Watford despite being concussed in England's UEFA Nations League defeat to Spain last Saturday.
The 23-year-old superbly set up Marcus Rashford's opener on his first international start since September 2015 - an appearance that came just a week before suffering a double leg break in a Champions League tie.
But Shaw appeared to suffer another serious injury just minutes into second half of the 2-1 defeat to Spain as his head clattered into Dani Carvajal before bouncing off the turf.
The left-back was taken off the field on a stretcher, wearing an oxygen mask and a neck brace, with The FA confirming he had sustained concussion in the impact.
Shaw remained with England for two nights of assessment before returning to United on Monday and Mourinho has revealed there is a chance he could feature at Watford this weekend.
"I don't know, we still have a training session," the United boss said of the defender's availability.
"Contrary to some news, to some opinions, by the protocol point of view and according to our doctor, he will be free to play.
"The only situation we have to analyse is if you are going to play him when during the week he was not training with the team or if, even so, we decide to play him."
Watford have no fresh injuries ahead of United's visit. Winger Gerard Deulofeu has been out with a groin problem in recent weeks and suffered a minor injury on his return to training, but should be back soon.
Midfielder Tom Cleverley (Achilles) is the Hornets' only long-term absentee.
As for United, Marcus Rashford starts a three-match domestic ban, while Shaw could feature despite sustaining concussion last weekend.
Ander Herrera (ankle) and Marouane Fellaini (back) are doubts, while Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot will step up their return from injury when the U23s face Reading on Friday.
Mourinho provided no pre-match update on Phil Jones, who came off with a hamstring complaint in the defeat to Tottenham.
- Watford have lost 12 of their last 13 matches against Manchester United in league competition, with their solitary win coming at Vicarage Road in September 2016 (3-1)
- Of teams they've faced 10 or more times, only against Wigan (94%) have United recorded a higher win rate in the Premier League than they have versus Watford (90% - 9 wins from 10)
- Since Gracia's first home game in charge in February, Watford (23) have won more Premier League points in home fixtures than any other team (P10 W7 D2 L1)
- Mourinho has won five of his six Premier League encounters with Watford (L1), including each of the last three
- Watford have won four consecutive home games in the top-flight for the first time since December 1986. They last enjoyed a longer such streak back in October 1985 (7), a run that included a 5-1 victory against Ron Atkinson's Man Utd at Vicarage Road
- This is the first time that Watford have started a top-flight campaign with four wins from their opening four games. It is also the fourth time that three sides have won their first four games of a single season in the English top-flight (also 2009-10, 1969-70 and 1903- 04)
- United have either scored two or more goals or none at all in each of their last nine Premier League away games, scoring at least twice on five occasions (W4 D1 L4)
Watford have been outstanding but United will be able to match their physicality. They can look after themselves. Away win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (10/1 with Sky Bet)