An early headed goal by Scott McTominay capped an excellent individual performance that put Manchester United through to the FA Cup fourth round as they beat Watford 1-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Captaining his side for the first time, McTominay connected with an Alex Telles corner and though his downward header lacked power, it bounced up and into the top corner past the dive of goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann in the fifth minute.
Having made nine changes from the team that lost the League Cup semi-final to Manchester City in midweek, United looked a little disorganised.
Watford, who are sixth in the second-tier Championships having been relegated from the Premier League last season, dominated the last 15 minutes of the first half but struggled to get decent shots on target.
United looked to counter-attack but despite fielding quality players such as Spanish playmaker Juan Mata and Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek, lone striker Mason Greenwood was given precious little to work with up front.
Watford substitute Ken Sema had some good chances from late free kicks, but instead it was 24-year-old Scottish midfielder McTominay who led the way with a selfless display of running and tackling to ensure that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side made it through to Monday’s fourth-round draw.
“We started really well and then for the first half an hour we were really good, moved the ball really well and there was some good combination play,” McTominay told BT Sport before talking about his pride in captaining the team.
“When the manager told me it was a surreal moment. I’ve been here since I had just turned five, so that’s 18 or 19 years associated with the club and it is a huge honour.