Jesse Lingard admitted that Manchester United dug themselves into an unnecessary hole during the latter stages of their 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Jose Mourinho’s men dominated proceedings in the first half and went ahead through a well-taken Romelu Lukaku header and a deflected Lingard strike.
But they lacked potency or direction in the second period, failing to stretch the hosts at the back, and faced a spell of late bombardment following Gareth Barry’s goal.
And Lingard, speaking after the game, noted that the visitors made life difficult for themselves in the second period.
“I think we made hard work of it in the second, they went two up top and we had to drop a bit deeper,” he said. “A win is a win.”
“It was on target so I’m claiming the goal.”
“Lukaku’s goal was similar to the goal he scored against Bournemouth,” he added. “He’s got great movement in the box and will score goals all day long.
“The 12th man, the fans, are always behind us and always back us whether we win, lose or draw. It was great to have them there on days like today.”
On a weekend where the league leaders once again dazzled with a display of scintillating attacking football, United made themselves suffer on route to victory.
But that winning nous under Mourinho was once again there to see. United inexplicably gave away winning positions despite creating innumerable chances last season and it led to them slipping down the table. This time around, however, they appear capable of scalping victories out of nothing.
Needless to say, this is the biggest – and most crucial – difference from the Portuguese’s first term at Old Trafford, albeit somewhat mooted by what’s concurrently unfolding on the blue side of Manchester.