Jose Mourinho hails Smalling-Jones partnership in 2-1 win against West Brom

by Harry Robinson

Jose Mourinho has praised the partnership of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones after Manchester United’s 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

The Portuguese did, though, emphasise the defensive efforts of thew hole team and the importance of keeping control of possession to suffocate West Brom’s chances of attacking.

Man United took the lead through a well-guided Romelu Lukaku header, his second in consecutive games, after a superbly directed cross from Marcus Rashford. Jesse Lingard’s deflected shot took United’s lead to a comfortable two goals.

They made life difficult for themselves by allowing West Brom back in the game late on as Gareth Barry struck home in the second half after errors at a set piece, something becoming far too common for United this season after two goals conceded at set pieces to Manchester City last weekend.

“Yes, they were really good,” Mourinho said after the game. “They were very strong but I think the team, the good quality of the team was to keep control of the game for the majority of the game.

“We knew that out of nothing they could score. We knew the advantage for them in terms of height and strength in set pieces in spite of us having a few that are not small guys but they have a real advantage of that and we knew that could happen.”

Mourinho also picked out Scott McTominay for individual praise after the young midfielder came on for his ninth United appearance after earning a first Premier League start in midweek in a 1-0 win against AFC Bournemouth.

“But we were calm after that and we played and could even see a kid like Scott [McTominay] coming in to the game and being intelligent and making the right decisions to keep possession of the ball.”

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