Manchester United lacked “mad dogs” on the pitch, rued manager Jose Mourinho but said at the same time that the players showed grit in staging another fight-back to salvage a 2-2 draw against Southampton.
“We lost so many balls in midfield,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “In the second half we went back to losing too many balls in midfield. The players they don’t understand that simplicity is genius, especially in some parts of the pitch.
“What we needed to improve in this game was simplicity in midfield. Make it simple, make the ball arrive fast to the attacking players.
“But good spirit, good fight to come back from 2-0 to 2-2.”
United came back from 0-2 down to earn a draw thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera.
Mourinho also refused to blame his makeshift back three which included midfielders Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay after injury ruled out Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly for not being able to pocket three points.S
“We don’t have many mad dogs, the ones who bite all the ball all the team and press all the time, we don’t have many with that spirit,” he said. “It was nothing to do with the system and Matic and McTominay did a very positive job for two midfield players.
“There were examples of players fighting to the limits — Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and many others — showing that respect for the shirt and for the club.
“It was not the result but the performance had positive things.”
United are seventh on the points table after 14 matches with 22 points.