Jose Mourinho felt Manchester United were forced to adopt defensive tactics in their win at Southampton as some of the players were lacking sharpness.
Romelu Lukaku's eighth goal in as many games secured a hard-fought victory at St Mary's Stadium that keeps United level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Chances were scarce at both ends, but the visitors spent the whole of the second half on the back foot, seemingly content to allow Southampton the ball and maintain a strong defensive shape.
Mourinho, who was sent to the stands in the dying minutes by referee Craig Pawson after he was summoned by the fourth official, says the result was all that mattered.
"It is not always possible to operate at high quality, but we fought hard," the United manager told Sky Sports. "We did what many teams in the Premier League do for 90 minutes, which was play with five defenders at the back.
"Credit to Southampton: they tried to play. [Mauricio] Pellegrino changed the team and sent on another striker to play more direct. It was a hard game, but I am really happy.
"I felt some of the boys were not sharp. I didn't feel like we could score three or four goals like we sometimes do so the option was to make sure we got the points."
He added to MUTV: "Three fantastic points – the same points as when we win 4-0.
"Our team had chances to kill the game. We had two enormous chances with [Ander] Herrera and Lukaku. Then we put ourselves in a position where he had to defend to keep the result, which we did extremely well, with a good keeper and with good defenders, so I am really happy."
Southampton striker Shane Long felt his side were worthy of a point, despite them managing only four reasonably tame efforts on target throughout the 90 minutes.
"I thought we deserved more from the game," he told Sky Sports.
"Manchester United are dangerous all over the pitch. They have physical players on set-pieces. To limit them to one goal was a credit to our team, but it was just a shame we couldn't get that equaliser at the other end.
"There were a lot of chances, but things didn't seem to fall for us. It wasn't through a lack of trying though. It just didn't happen."
23. Februar 2018
|Srna given 17-month doping ban|
|Winter Olympics 2018: Larocque apologises for silver-medal snub|
|Arsenal boss Wenger backs Wilshere after Keane rant|
|Basque police express ´dismay´ at death of officer after fan violence|
|Jones was alarmed by England´s lack of fitness|
|Wembley hero Ramsey winning race to face Manchester City|
|McLaren launch new-look MCL33|
|EFL Cup final: Bravo and Ospina pitch to be heroes before stepping back into the shadows|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at round three of the Six Nations|
|EFL Cup final: Wenger aiming for another glorious Wembley outing|
|Ligament damage but no surgery for Lynn|
|Wizards upstage new-look Cavs, Westbrook hits buzzer-beater|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Guadalajara poised for quarters, Red Bulls draw|
|Del Potro stunned by Tiafoe at Delray Beach Open|
|Bouchard lawyer satisfied after jury rules against USTA|
|´Enough is enough, we gotta take action´ - Panthers´ Luongo on gun control|
|Former NBA pair help Brazil stay perfect in World Cup qualifying|
|Keane: Wilshere is the most over-rated player on the planet|
|Monfils wins rain-interrupted clash against top seed Cilic|
|Earnhardt says short-track speed skating is ´NASCAR on ice´|
|My knee flared up – Wawrinka reveals reason for retirement|
|Stoger: Dortmund were lucky to survive Atalanta scare|
|Gattuso hopes to continue as AC Milan boss|
|Europa League Review: Arsenal survive scare, Dortmund battle past Atalanta|
|Noren, Simpson share Honda Classic lead after Tiger shoots 70|
|´Complacent´ Arsenal had no ideas, Wenger admits|
|Wilshere pulls no punches after Arsenal´s Ostersunds defeat|
|Batshuayi accuses Atalanta fans of racism|
|Mercedes not responsible for spoiling F1 spectacle, Wolff claims|
22. Februar 2018
|Veteran kicker Vinatieri signs with Colts for further year|
|More injury woe as Wawrinka retires from Open 13 Marseille|
|Villarreal defender Semedo charged with attempted murder|
|West Indies taking nothing for granted in World Cup qualifying|
|Police officer dies after clashes between Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow fans|
|Atalanta 1 Borussia Dortmund 1 (3-4 agg): Returning Schmelzer strikes late|
|AC Milan 1 Ludogorets 0 (4-0 agg): Borini strike secures victory at San Siro|
|Arsenal 1 Ostersunds 2 (4-2 agg): Gunners through despite Emirates shock|
|Kerber back in the top 10 where she belongs, Schuttler proclaims|
|Simeone open to Carrasco, Torres exits amid CSL reports|
|Mancini: Zenit not Europa League contenders|
|Confident Kerber enjoying ´fresh start´ after downing Pliskova|
|Honda Classic grind ´like playing a British Open´, says Woods|
|Europa League Review: Napoli´s comeback in vain, Immobile sends Lazio through|
|Ferdinand has doubts over Kane´s Tottenham future|
|Zenit 3 Celtic 0 (3-1 agg): Ivanovic inspires second-leg turnaround|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Copenhagen 0 (5-1 agg): Gameiro ensures Simeone´s men cruise through|
|Six Nations 2018: Owen Farrell ´jumping out of his skin´ to face Scotland, Eddie Jones says|
|Why De Gea really is untouchable as the Premier League´s best goalkeeper|
|Woods, Thomas start strong at Honda Classic|
|Farrell ´jumping out of his skin´ to face Scotland, says Jones|
|I wouldn´t sell him - Arbeloa wants Bale to remain at Real Madrid|
|Two Grand Slams and 2,253 points scored - Gatland´s 100 Wales matches in Opta numbers|
|Leeds United delay reveal of new club crest|
|Guti urges Neymar to leave PSG for Real Madrid|
|Bottas: I can beat Hamilton to F1 title|
|Vettel and Ferrari ´fired up´ for 2018 after unveiling SF71H|
|Azpilicueta: Chelsea must be perfect to beat Barcelona|
|Rai´s big finish ensures three-way tie in Qatar|
|Roma star Under tipped to win Ballon d´Or before 2023|
|WATCH: Snedeker splashes around for a soggy six at Honda Classic|
|Hamilton says Vettel rivalry ´could be worse´ in 2018|
|Zola denies he will join Sarri at Chelsea next season|
|Barcelona is my club - Sergi Roberto rejects other interest to sign new deal|
|Lewandowski employs Zahavi as agent as Real Madrid rumours continue|
|If you gave me a chainsaw I´d take it off - Wolff not keen on halo|
|Farrell and Porter among five Ireland changes|
|Pardew confirms Evans remains West Brom captain|
|Muntari joins Seedorf at Deportivo La Coruna|
|F1 champs Mercedes launch new W09|
|Wigan coach Wane ponders Hardaker lifeline|