Manchester United weren’t at their best, but they got the job done on the final day of the season with a 1-0 win over Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Manchester United 1 Watford 0
Rashford (34′) converts square pass from Mata
Richarlison forces Romero into fine save
Deulofeu shoots straight at Romero
Carrick bows out to rapturous applause
Hornets keeper Heurelho Gomes didn’t have a save to make in the entire game, but he had to take the ball out the back of his net on 34 minutes when Juan Mata unselfishly teed up Marcus Rashford for a simple finish inside the area.
Sergio Romero preserved United’s narrow lead with a dine save to deny Richarlison at the end of the first half, and Jose Mourinho’s side saw out the second half without too much fuss.
The game lacked intensity in the opening stages, which was indicative of two teams with nothing to play for.
The visitors had the first sight on goal in the 10th minute from a free-kick, but Richarlison curled the ball well over the crossbar from 30 yards out.
United were soon threatening as Rashford cut inside from the left and blasted a shot into the stand behind the goal from 22 yards out on 12 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez then hit a first-time volley wide of the right post four minutes later after being picked out in space by Juan Mata’s cross from the left.
Marcos Rojo was presented with a chance in the 31st minute when a corner was cleared into his path, but the defender skewed his volley wide of the left post from inside the D.
Michael Carrick – making his final appearance for the Red Devils – was at the heart of all their moves and he had a hand in their opener on 34 minutes.
The veteran midfielder was given time and space to pick a pass over the top for Mata, who sprung the offside trap and squared for an open Rashford to slot into an empty net from 14 yards out.
Javi Gracia’s men had looked dangerous on a few occasions and they almost got back into the contest in the final minute of the half when Richarlison got on the end of Daryl Janmaat’s cross from the right, but Sergio Romero pulled off a sharp save low to his left to push away the Brazilian’s header from six yards out.
They went close again moments later as Gerard Deulofeu lashed a shot on the turn straight at Romero from 16 yards out after United failed to properly clear a corner.
The visitors were asking questions soon after the restart as Roberto Pereyra hooked an effort wide of the left post from 14 yards out following a corner.
However, both teams were wasteful in possession as the second half wore on which led to little action in either final third.
Rashford looked to change that in the 72nd minute after play had switched to the left, but the striker blazed well over from 22 yards out.
The Hornets applied late pressure and Abdoulaye Doucoure met a corner at the back post on 82 minutes, but he couldn’t make clean contact and Romero collected easily.
Carrick left the field to rapturous applause soon afterwards as Paul Pogba replaced him for the final few minutes, which the hosts saw out to claim all three points.