Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho offered special praise to central defensive duo Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof following the 2-0 triumph over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup fifth round.
Smalling had come off a dismal performance against Newcastle in the Premier League, but he managed to make numerous clearances versus the Terriers to keep a first clean sheet in three away games.
Alongside him, Victor Lindelof shared the defensive workload, and the Swede had no jittery moments at the back, having gone through a settling phase, where he has been in-and-out of the starting lineup.
“For the majority of the time in the first half Huddersfield were offensive, dangerous. They pushed us to good defensive work. Victor and Chris we were really good.” Mourinho is quoted as saying by M.E.N.
Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring for United in just the third minute of the game, but Mourinho’s men therein struggled to maintain any kind of possession with the hosts trying to level the scores.
The United defence had to absorb the pressure for most of the first-half, but Lukaku’s second goal after the break ended any chances of a comeback from David Wagner’s side, who were mostly restricted to efforts from outside the box.
Smalling has recently been associated with a potential exit from Old Trafford in the summer, and it will be interesting to see which combination the manager sticks with, considering Eric Bailly is back after a long lay-off for an ankle problem.