José Mourinho praised the fight of his Manchester United players after the Reds’ 1-0 win against Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
Romelu Lukaku scored the only goal of the game in the 20th-minute, but Man United sat back for large parts of the game as Southampton threatened significantly.
But manager Mourinho both hailed his players and defended his decision to change to a five-at-the-back formation towards the end of the game.
“It is not always possible for high quality,” Mourinho said after the game. “We fought hard.”
“It’s not always possible opera of high quality. But we fought hard.”“We did for 25 minutes what many teams do for 90 minutes, which is play five at the back.”
“We did for 25 minutes what many teams do for 90 minutes, which is play five at the back.”
United’s players, Lukaku in particular, celebrated massively at the final whistle, likely relieved to have secured the three points after being under pressure for some time.
Mourinho brought on Chris Smalling for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and then Daley Blind for Marcus Rashford, the first time United fans have seen notably defensive substitutions from their manager this season.
However, United hadn’t played well and were far from the dynamic side that has thrashed West Ham, Swansea City, FC Basel, Everton and Burton Albion this season.
Mourinho clearly thought the Reds’ chances of winning were better with five defenders, and it paid off as United claimed a fifth win in six league games.