Former Liverpool star and current BBC Sports pundit Mark Lawrenson has said that Newcastle United’s defeat against Manchester United last weekend came as a result of the Magpies taking the lead.

The Magpies travelled down to Old Trafford on the back of two successive defeats, but things seemed to be looking bright when Dwight Gayle gave Rafael Benitez’s side a shock early lead.

However, the quality of Jose Mourinho’s men shone through and helped the Red Devils secure a 4-1 win over the north east side, condemning them to three straight defeats, with their home clash against Watford the next opportunity to bounce back to winning ways.

Lawrenson has bizarrely claimed that notching the opening goal in the north west was a “mistake” and that it resulted in the defeat, although he says he does not expect Benitez to allow his side to leave St James’ Park without at least a point on Saturday.

Predicting a 1-1 draw between the two sides, he wrote on BBC Sport’s website: “Newcastle’s mistake against Manchester United was probably taking the lead.

“They did create another very good chance when they were 1-0 up, but Jacob Murphy missed it, and they were well beaten in the end.

“That made it three defeats on the spin for the Magpies, and I do not think their manager Rafael Benitez will want to risk a fourth.

“I am expecting this game to be very tight, and the points to be shared. The Hornets use the ball well, especially down the flanks, and they have plenty of ideas when they come forward.”

The Magpies have lost all three of their previous meetings against Watford across all competitions, suffering a 2-1 defeat in the last meeting back in January 2016, in which Jamaal Lascelles netted his first ever goal for the club.

In other Newcastle United news, Rafa Benitez must swallow his pride if he wants to name the best starting XI against the Hornets.

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