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."
20. Juni 2018
|Mooy can play at a higher level, says Socceroos boss Van Marwijk|
|Remarkable Ronaldo breaks Puskas´ European record|
|Belgian Grand Prix deal agreed until 2021|
|Isco: I´m not going to speak to Ronaldo again!|
|Slater expects to be fit for Origin II|
|Curran and Overton added to England ODI squad|
|Hussey fears Australia will be left with ´mental scars´|
|Fabianski swaps Swansea for West Ham|
|Loftus-Cheek ready to replace Alli|
|England are a team now - Rashford|
|Lazaridis calls for Cahill to start against Denmark|
|Arzani and Ryan can play at the highest level, says Bosnich|
|Dust (Ja)pan and brush: Blue Samurai fans clean up in Saransk|
|Lodge reaches agreement over New York attack|
|Gerrard can become a strong manager - Arena|
|Arsenal target Torreira has left for €30m, says Sampdoria chief|
|Murray unsure over Wimbledon participation|
|De Gea has to bounce back from Ronaldo shocker - Bosnich|
|Martinez not looking for perfection|
|Farah´s Wests Tigers return confirmed|
|Cubs get extra-inning win to split doubleheader with Dodgers|
|Denmark will ´struggle´ if Australia stop Eriksen, says Jakobsen|
|Astros´ win streak ends at 12|
|Lahm backs Germany, Low after losing start|
|Messi has all our support – Dybala|
|Strickland apologises for ´stupid decision´ that led to broken hand|
|Five-time Open Championship winner Thomson dies aged 88|
|´Positive´ Pogba not bitter towards media, says Varane|
|Portugal privileged to have ´humble´ Ronaldo, says Pepe|
|Strickland breaks hand punching door after blown save, out for up to eight weeks|
|He will have received good money – Costa delighted by Griezmann extension|
|Kane: Pochettino sent me love hearts after World Cup heroics|
|Nationals place Adams on 10-day DL with broken finger|
|Dybala: I can play alongside Messi|
|Lewandowski: Poland didn´t take enough risks|
|England´s Kane aiming to reach Ronaldo, Messi levels with World Cup performances|
19. Juni 2018
|Kicker given three-year match-fixing ban|
|England confirm Alli thigh injury|
|Federer through, Zverev out in Halle|
|Back on the map and earning letters from ladies, Tabarez embraces Uruguay´s heritage|
|Rampant England rout Australia in record-breaking display|
|Pulisic in right place at Dortmund, says Arena|
|Wilshere confirms Arsenal exit|
|NASCAR at Sonoma: TV schedule, standings, qualifying drivers for Toyota/Save Mart 350|
|Muguruza and Kvitova cruise through in Birmingham|
|Leno among top 10 most expensive goalkeepers|
|Pained Salah unable to halt Russia´s unlikely march|
|Kyrgios downs ´legend´ Murray as Dimitrov and Djokovic progress|
|Neymar pain normal – Coutinho unconcerned by ankle issue|
|Russia 3 Egypt 1: Salah strikes but hosts right on course for last 16|
|We must make Ronaldo less exceptional, says Morocco boss Renard|
|Chandimal handed one-Test ball tampering ban, faces further ICC charge|
|Arsenal sign goalkeeper Leno from Leverkusen|
|Mexico style in Germany win surprised Arena|
|Monaco complete €20m move for Lyon teenager Geubbels|
|Saudi team don´t know cause of aeroplane fire, Pizzi reveals|
|Champions League qualifying draw: Celtic travel to Armenia, Ajax face Sturm Graz|
|I´ve never seen a player win on his own – Santos shrugs off Ronaldo dependence|
|Murray impresses despite narrow defeat on return|
|West Ham land club-record Diop signing|
|El Hadji Diouf hails ´perfect start´ for Senegal|
|Cisse and Senegal give cause for African celebration|
|Carvajal ready to face Iran - Hierro|
|Japan´s World Cup victory over Colombia sparks celebrations on the streets of Tokyo|
|Poland 1 Senegal 2: Good fortune and bad errors hand Africans Group H win|
|England shatter ODI world record with total of 481 against Australia|
|Best yet to come from England hero Kane, says Rashford|
|Salah starts for Egypt against Russia|
|De Jong expects to stay at Ajax|
|Barcelona angered by Pique´s involvement in Griezmann saga|