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."
12. Dezember 2017
|New Zealand sweep Windies with 240-run victory|
|Man United more boring under Mourinho, claims Van Gaal|
|Rodgers return a medical decision for Packers|
|Stanton rips ´unprofessional´ and ´circus times´ with Marlins|
|Zidane: Real Madrid want to win Club World Cup|
|Worker to open batting as Guptill misses ODI series|
|Stanton excited to step into ´winning environment´ with Yankees|
|Morata ruled out of Huddersfield trip due to ´impossible´ workload|
11. Dezember 2017
|Valverde singles out Hazard & Morata as chief Chelsea threats|
|Irving to miss Bulls game with quad injury|
|Lazio 1 Torino 3: Inzaghi´s men lose ground as Immobile sees red|
|Reading 2 Cardiff City 2: Late comeback makes light of Warnock dismissal|
|Jets QB McCown´s season over with broken hand|
|Wagner received no contact over Borussia Dortmund job|
|From the ridiculous to the sublime - Clermont overcome ´absurd´ episode to thump Saracens|
|A Mourinho myth? Man United booked for simulation more than any Premier League side|
|Eagles QB Wentz out for season with torn ACL|
|Brook to face Rabchenko in light-middleweight bow|
|Yankees confirm Stanton deal|
|Clermont irked by ´absurd´ Saracens saga|
|Bairstow wants England to regain trust|
|Ronaldo´s ego is his biggest motivator - Valdano|
|Bayern threaten legal action over Leno transfer rumours|
|Thompson welcomes golf´s change in policy over viewer call-ins|
|Potter delighted by underdog Ostersunds´ trip to Arsenal|
|Chelsea can bounce back from West Ham loss, says Conte|
|Real Madrid will relish PSG test, says Xabi Alonso|
|Conte urges Chelsea to be ´positive´ over Barca Champions League draw|
|Heynckes wary of Besiktas threat|
|Ostersunds handed fairytale Arsenal tie, Napoli face Leipzig|
|Taylor pays moving tribute to Crowe after equalling century record|
|Emery: PSG ´can compete with Real Madrid´|
|Totti urges Roma focus on Serie A despite encouraging Champions League draw|
|Europa League: Last 32 draw in full|
|Messi faces toughest foe in Champions League|
|Tigers confirm broken jaw for Veainu as Tuilagi nears return|
|AC Milan signed too many players, admits Fassone|
|Real Madrid face PSG, Chelsea drawn with Barcelona|
|FA seeking information over Manchester derby incident|
|India agree to be Afghanistan´s first Test opponents|
|He is one of the best strikers in the Premier League - Wilshere hails Giroud|
|Jamshed banned for failing to co-operate with PCB anti-corruption unit|
|Mata: No time to mourn derby defeat|
|Hitzfeld tells Nagelsmann to honour Hoffenheim contract|
|Amor: Mascherano future to become clear soon|
|Good things come to those who wait - Shubhankar wins Joburg Open in Monday finish|
|Huddersfield confident of Chelsea scalp - Ince|
|Sea Eagles facing sanctions over salary cap breach|
|Paine denies Aussies have crossed line with Ashes sledging|
|Road to Super Bowl hits speed bump as Eagles sweat on Wentz fitness|
|Taylor hits record ton as Windies chase mammoth total|
|Oladipo´s career performance keeps Pacers rolling|
|De Bruyne: Man City have to enjoy derby victory|
|Suspended Smith-Schuster watches on in Steelers helmet|
|Bancroft and Warner ´kissed and made up´ after Adelaide mix up|
|There is no-one like Messi – Alcacer|
|Pederson unwilling to comment on Wentz amid ACL fears|
|Kane: Bring on the best in Champions League|
|Neville: Lukaku needs to believe amid Man United struggles|
|Fitzgerald now third all time in receiving yards|
|Eagles QB Wentz suffers knee injury|
|Messi best player of all time – Rakitic|
|Gattuso: I´m even tense playing football with my son|
|Suarez admits Villarreal red swung it for Barcelona|
|Villarreal win ´crucial´ for Barcelona boss Valverde|
10. Dezember 2017
|O´Hair and Stricker claim QBE Shootout crown|
|Sublime O´Sullivan equals major record with sixth UK Championship win|
|Villarreal 0 Barcelona 2: Suarez, Messi restore five-point LaLiga lead|
|AC Milan 2 Bologna 1: Bonaventura brace breaks Gattuso´s duck|
|Leinster end Exeter home streak, La Rochelle shine again|