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Manchester United

Jose explains defensive tactics

Manchester United won their fifth game from six to start the 2017-18 Premier League season, coming away with a 1-0 victory at Southampton today.

Romelu Lukaku scored the game’s only goal in the first half after good work from Ashley Young down the left wing.

We were on the back foot for the entirety of the second half, forcing only one save out of Fraser Forster after the break.  Southampton finished the game with 61% of the possession.

Chris Smalling replaced Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 74th minute today as we ended with five at the back.  Speaking in his post-game interview, Jose Mourinho explained the need to have five at the back this afternoon:

“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. Pellegrino changed the team and sent on another striker to play more direct.”

Jose explained that Southampton made it tough for us but ultimately was very happy that we came away from the South coast with all three points:

“It was a hard game but I am really happy.”

The boss heaped praise on Romelu Lukaku who was on hand to score the only goal of the game as well as putting in a good shift as the lone striker:

“Romelu Lukaku’s work is so important for us. He scored his goal and worked hard like everybody else.

“Nobody feels the pressure to play always attacking football because so many teams play always defensively.”

However, he wasn’t entirely happy with the performance, pointing out some sloppy play.  Mourinho could have been referring to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nemanja Matic in his final comment:

“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.”

Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands by referee Craig Pawson in stoppage time.

Manchester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace means that we are only below Pep Guardiola’s side on goal difference, whilst maintaining our three point lead over Chelsea who are third.

We are at CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday before hosting Crystal Palace ourselves in the Premier League next weekend.