LONDON • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said his side ought to have been "smoking cigars" after they made hard work of an eventual 4-2 Premier League win away to Watford on Tuesday.
United were comfortably 3-0 up before half-time at a freezing Vicarage Road thanks to Ashley Young's double and a goal from Anthony Martial.
But after the break, the Hornets struck twice through substitute Troy Deeney's penalty and Abdoulaye Doucoure before United's Jesse Lingard put the result beyond doubt four minutes from time.
United's victory came after two successive away defeats but there was no hiding Mourinho's frustration when he said: "The second half should have been 5(-0) or 6-0, it was easier to score than the first.
"It was an easy match to win comfortably. But at 3-2 the game is in the balance, then Jesse Lingard had the initiative to kill the game.
"We missed 4-0 with some actions and Romelu Lukaku had an open goal, Paul Pogba had a free header too... We should be smoking cigars but then were in trouble."
I think he needs a brand to give him the right boots and to pay him the right money so he goes back to goals.
JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, on why striker Romelu Lukaku's early goal-scoring form has deserted him.
The Portuguese added that the main reason United had not sealed the game was because the team "lost stability" when midfielder Nemanja Matic went off early in the second half with a muscle injury.
But he jocularly suggested that Lukaku needed a new pair of boots after the striker's dramatic loss of form showed no sign of ending on Tuesday.
The Belgian made a dreadful mess of a chance to put United 4-0 ahead, taking an age to shoot with the goal at his mercy before being closed down. It was the most glaring miss on a night when he still contributed some sterling work.
After joining from Everton in the summer, he scored 11 goals in his first 10 games but has now managed just one in his last 11. Mourinho joked that his recent lack of goals could be put down to not having a boot endorsement deal.
"I think he needs a big contract with boots because at this moment, he doesn't have a contract with any brand, that's why he's playing with black boots," the United manager told reporters.
"I think he needs a brand to give him the right boots and to pay him the right money so he goes back to goals."
United's tally of 32 points from 14 games is their best since the 2012-13 season when Alex Ferguson's side went on to win the tile in the Scot's final season at the helm.
The victory will provide a boost to United, who will face two tough opponents in the Premier League next. Mourinho's men travel to the Emirates on Saturday to take on Arsenal before hosting Manchester City a week later.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS