Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho praised the way Southampton played in his side’s 1-0 victory at St Mary’s Stadium.
The Red Devils came away with all three points thanks to a Romelu Lukaku goal in the first half. United’s talisman out-muscled Wesley Hoedt to fire a header towards Fraser Forster, whose instinctive save unfortunately fell into the path of the Belgian international.
Mourinho, who spoke to Manchester United’s official website after the game, admitted that Saints had given his men an incredibly difficult test.
It’s a difficult place to come, and it is a good opponent without anything to lose, that tried in the last 35 minutes to be really offensive and try to fight for the rescue of a point.
The United boss was, in fact, given his marching orders late on in the game. As Mario Lemina sprung a counter-attack for Saints, he was judged by referee Craig Pawson to have overstepped the mark and encroached from his technical area.
I felt Southampton were strong. I felt their manager was excited and enthusiastic by risking bringing two strikers like Gabbiadini and Austin on to play direct, a style that’s not their style.
And then I made the decision to bring on Smalling, and I think the team was solid. We showed good solidarity, good organisation and good spirit to get the three points.
However, his side defended throughout to prevent a tireless Southampton side from taking anything away from what was an incredible difficult encounter for both sides on the day.