Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho pointed to the intelligence his players showed against Arsenal, particularly when they were a man down after Paul Pogba's sending off, as the main reason for their 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
The Portuguese gaffer told Manchester United's official website: “They had the intelligence to play tactically according to the moments of the game because the game, we started in a way and then, when Mustafi comes off, they changed and we changed and then later, playing with 10 men, we had to change again so I think it was hard for the players from the mental and tactical point of the view."
8 – Man Utd have won more away games at Arsenal in the Premier League than any other side. Brag.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2017
The former Real Madrid manager said, regarding the quality of the contest: “I thought it was a phenomenal game. I loved the way my team played and fought. But I also have to say that Arsenal played, in some periods, amazing attacking football, creating difficulties for us.
"But I have to say that my players deserve all the great words. I don’t know so many more in English! But amazing, phenomenal, fantastic, and deserved the three points.”
Mourinho praised Nemanja Matić for recovering from injury and being available for selection while also taking a swipe at Arsenal for ruling French forward Alexandre Lacazette out of the fixture earlier in the week, despite him being able to start the match:
"He did great work in the last couple of days. Fantastic dedication from the members of the medical staff that were working with him and we managed to go from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘yes’.
"He was a doubt, he managed to play 90 minutes but I think the best words must go to Arsenal’s medical department because Lacazette went from a ‘no’ to a ’90 minutes’ and that’s great.”
Finally, Jose commented on his team's growing understanding of his defensive strategy: “The players grew up, they understood the game better and the players understood that with one game less, it’s not about focus on pressing the man, it’s more about the zone and to create a compact block and then, yes, press the ball in these areas, so I think the team felt very comfortable."
Manchester United will now turn their attention to a crucial Champions League fixture against CSKA Moscow this Tuesday evening.