The Manchester United board wanted to wait until the end of the season before making a managerial change coming into this match.
But chants of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ will not have escaped the Old Trafford hierarchy after this cataclysmic performance.
Five defeats from seven matches has resulted in bigger names than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being dismissed and there is a real sense now the clock is ticking. Seeing captain Harry Maguire sent off made matters only worse.
Relegation candidates Watford were more than worthy winners and should have been further in front than first-half goals from Josh King and Ismael Sarr.
The latter also missed a twice-taken penalty and United only looked like stemming the tide after the goalscoring introduction of Donny Van de Beek.
All hopes of a comeback effectively went with 69th minute sending off of captain Harry Maguire.
The result left them eighth in the Premier League table with their next two matches also away; at Villarreal in Tuesday’s Champions League tie and then to Chelsea without their suspended skipper.
The entertainment flowed from start to finish with Scott McTominay fortunate to escape a red card for felling King after only four minutes.
Referee Jon Moss pointed straight to the spot, but then United’s luck changed thanks to VAR. McTominay was spared and Watford had to retake the kick after Kiko had scored from the rebound of David de Gea’s save from Sarr’s soft initial kick.
The Senegal striker went to De Gea’s left again with the retake and the Spanish striker made an even better save.
The clock above the Vicarage Road home end struck exactly 28 minutes when King side-footed in from six yards after a brilliant piece of skill and a pass from Emmanuel Dennis down the left.
Josh King felled by Scot McTominay as he tried to prevent the Watford striker from capitalising on a horrendously miskicked clearance by Bruno Fernandes.
Sarr doubled the lead by drilling in a low right-foot drive to double Watford’s lead just before the break.
Solskjaer sent on Van de Beek for the restart and the Dutch midfielder made his mark within five minutes. Jadon Sancho crossed from the left, Cristiano Ronaldo nodded the ball back across the