Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has criticised his former club's "sloppy" performance in the 3-1 defeat against Watford.

Goals from Etienne Capoue, Juan Zuniga and Troy Deeney gave the Hornets a famous victory at Vicarage Road, with Marcus Rashford scoring a solitary goal for the visitors.

The defeat was United's third in as many matches and leaves them seventh in the league table, six points behind leaders Manchester City.

"As much as you talk about formations and who should play where, the quality on the ball was as poor as you would see from a Manchester United team. That's just the way it is at the minute," Scholes was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"You're not sure what you're going to get. Rashford is the only shining light really. He didn't have the best game but he looked a threat.

"I just think in possession Manchester United were really, really poor."

Scholes said United's passing game was not good enough against Watford and called for Marouane Fellaini to be axed from the anchor midfield role and replaced with Michael Carrick.

"Individually it wasn't good enough. The possession wasn't good enough, they were sloppy giving the ball away.

Marouane Fellaini
Paul Scholes has called for Marouane Fellaini, 28, to be dropped from Manchester United's starting XI Getty Images

"I thought Fellaini was alright today – he does a job in there which stops the team. I just think, if you're Manchester United, you need someone who can stop the opposition but he needs to be capable of controlling a game of football as well.

"Playing forward, passing forward. As well as he's done the first three or four games, I just can't understand why Michael Carrick [is not] there.

"It looked last year like he was leaving, he's not played a minute this season. What he's done I don't know. Obviously [Bastian] Schweinsteiger he's not keen on but they need that playmaker in there."

Anthony Martial is a doubt for United's League Cup trip to Northampton in midweek after he was forced off with a knock in the first half against Watford at Vicarage Road.

The Red Devils' next Premier League assignment sees them taking on champions Leicester City at Old Trafford on 24 September.