Jose Mourinho bemoaned a lack of “mad dogs” in his Manchester United team after the 2-2 draw with Southampton but praised the way his players staged another fight-back to salvage a point at St Mary’s.
United battled back from 2-0 down to earn a draw thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera.
Mourinho was also unimpressed with United’s sloppiness in midfield with Paul Pogba, back in the team after being left out against Young Boys in midweek, guilty of giving the ball away on a number of occasions.
“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.”
Mourinho was forced to field a back three which included midfielders Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay after injury ruled out Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly.
United conceded their 22nd and 23rd goals of the season inside the first 20 minutes before levelling it up before half-time but Mourinho refused to blame the system or his makeshift defenders for another slow start.
“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.”