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."
19. Oktober 2017
|Man United risk losing identity under Mourinho – Bellamy|
|Hayward delivers message to Celtics fans from hospital bed|
|Valverde hopes Messi scores 200th European goal this season|
|Storm, Cowboys to meet in round three in 2018|
|Dodgers´ Roberts all too familiar with historic 3-0 comebacks|
|Maddon on staving off elimination: Cubs have to start hitting ball|
|Stop worrying about Chelsea – Conte hits back at Mourinho|
|Roma better than Chelsea, says Nainggolan|
|Bemelmans stuns Kyrgios in Antwerp, Sock back on track in Stockholm|
|Basel coach Wicky demands more focus|
|Heynckes calls for patience from Bayern´s reserve stars|
|Emery calls for PSG improvement despite perfect start|
|Pique handball instinctive, says Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Dzeko was born to score – Di Francesco|
18. Oktober 2017
|Lemonis rues Olympiacos collapse against 10-man Barca|
|Rodgers: Individual class inhibiting Celtic|
|David Luiz experiment failed, admits Conte|
|Banvit claim first win as Petrol Olimpija run out of gas|
|Allegri not impressed despite crucial win|
|Svilar risks a lot – Mourinho was aware of Benfica youngster´s shortcomings|
|We played better against Atletico – Hazard|
|Job done for Mbappe and PSG after another big win|
|Colts QB Luck suffers setback in recovery from shoulder injury|
|Simeone maintains ´absolute´ belief in Atletico despite Qarabag draw|
|Mladenovic slump continues in Moscow, Kontaveit crashes out in Luxembourg|
|Louisville fires AD Tom Jurich amid pay-for-play scandal|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Basel 2: Xhaka, Oberlin do the damage|
|Juventus 2 Sporting CP 1: Late Mandzukic intervention saves wasteful Bianconeri|
|Bayern Munich 3 Celtic 0: Hoops outclassed on Heynckes´ return to Europe|
|Chelsea 3 Roma 3: Hazard brace rescues Conte´s men after Dzeko double|
|Anderlecht 0 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Mbappe takes one record as Cavani closes on another|
|Barcelona 3 Olympiacos 1:Ton-up for Messi as Pique sees red|
|Benfica 0 Manchester United 1: Rashford goal settles poor game after woeful Svilar error|
|Sopoaga replaces injured Barrett for Bledisloe clash|
|Messi joins Ronaldo in European 100-goal club|
|NFL commissioner Goodell hopes to get player protests to ´zero´|
|Good results are on the way in the league - Salah|
|Algeria restore Madjer to the helm|
|Griezmann eyes qualification despite Atleti´s Qarabag stumble|
|Inzaman´s nephew, Imam, makes debut century as Pakistan win ODI series|
|FA chief Glenn denies Aluko´s ´bordering on blackmail´ claim|
|Mbappe surpasses Kluivert as Champions League´s highest-scoring teenager|
|Ozil is a warrior - Pires sympathises with Arsenal star|
|Benfica teen Svilar breaks Casillas´ Champions League record against Man Utd|
|Balotelli can improve even more - Favre|
|It was special to face role model Modric, says Winks|
|Robben named for Champions League century|
|Portis banned for eight games after fight with Bulls team-mate Mirotic|
|You can´t question Arsenal´s character - Wenger hits back at Deeney|
|Qarabag 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s side in trouble after shock draw|
|Peru Open shortened due to national census|
|Guardiola´s Catalonia stance dismissed by Spanish minister|
|Browns name DeShone Kizer starting QB once again|
|2018 NFL Draft to be held in Dallas|
|Laidlaw out of Autumn internationals with fractured leg|
|De Villiers smashes ODI best as Proteas seal series|
|Konta splits with coach and ends season|
|Rose: No desperation for Woods return|
|Top of the range - Spieth presents Birkdale with iconic three iron|
|Oldham appoint Wellens over Scholes, Seedorf|
|FA apologises over Sampson remarks to Aluko and Spence|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton on the brink, but Vettel has American pace - United States GP in numbers|
|Former Springbok Smith announces retirement|
|Montella willing to accept ´exaggerated´ Milan criticism|
|Red Bull developing early to avoid slow 2018 start, says Ricciardo|
|Napoli confirm Insigne adductor strain|
|Urawa Reds 1 Shanghai SIPG 0 (2-1 agg): Rafael Silva books Al Hilal decider|
|Not a tragedy if Italy miss World Cup, says Zola|
|Milner-Skudder undergoes surgery on injured shoulder|
|Hummels: Bayern players contributed to Ancelotti´s sacking|