Jose Mourinho hailed the performance of striker Romelu Lukaku after he scored one and created the other in a 2-1 Premier League win against former club Chelsea on Sunday.
After Willian gave the Blues the lead at Old Trafford, Lukaku hauled United level by slotting in from close range after good combination play from Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial.
Lukaku then crossed for substitute Jesse Lingard to head in the winner for United, capping an all-action display with a powerful driving run to release pressure in added time.
While the goal was Lukaku's first against a top-eight Premier League club this season, it took him to 22 strikes in all competitions since joining United from Everton and Mourinho highlighted the Belgium international's performance.
"He played fantastically well. At first he didn't find the right timing and lost the ball at times," Mourinho told a post-match news conference.
"But then he went together with the team and finished the game and people go home with the image of the run where he could have gone and got a goal. It was important for us to open the gap."
United cut the advantage rivals Manchester City hold at the top of the Premier League table to 13 points, with Mourinho's men now six clear of fifth-placed Chelsea in the battle for Champions League qualification.
And although United conceded the first goal, Mourinho felt his side delivered a high-class performance against his old employers, where the Portuguese won three Premier League titles across two spells at Stamford Bridge.
"We want always the perfection. We are always the best when we have the pen and paper, but sometimes on the pitch it was different," Mourinho said.
"The work of Scott [McTominay] and [Nemanja] Matic was exceptional. We needed Paul [Pogba] and Alexis [Sanchez] to give us some balance in front of them. The players needed some time to adapt but I am really happy because from then they were intelligent.
"They understood the change of Lingard and [Eric] Bailly, when they brought on [Olivier] Giroud. I am very happy and a great attitude as well. We have four important matches at home and today was a good start.
"You can only win against the top teams with that humble attitude. It can happen, the attitude has to be really special and the players showed that.
"The beginning of the game was blue, we took some time to adapt to some new positions on the pitch, the players in the midfield took some time to press [N'Golo] Kante and [Danny] Drinkwater, but we found that balance.
"In the second half we were solid, we didn't create a lot of chances as against Chelsea that is not possible."
|Van Gaal: Heynckes can become a Bayern Munich god|
|Real Madrid without Ramos for Girona test|
|South Africa include Morris & Olivier for remainder of Australia series|
|Icardi reaches 100 Serie A goals against former club Sampdoria|
|Ireland Grand Slam heroes denied homecoming by weather|
|Cardiff trip to Derby postponed due to snow|
|Ogbonna gets Italy call as cover for doubtful Chiellini|
|Sunderland suspend Gibson after drink-driving charge|
|Manly claim record Eels thrashing, Knights win late again|
|Winning FA Cup is not important, claims Chelsea coach Conte|
|No one will be compared to me – Cristiano Ronaldo|
|LeBron James: Cavs worried about Lue health|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Red Bull|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Force India|
|Melbourne Victory 5 Central Coast Mariners 2: Berisha leads rout with hat-trick|
|Clarke breaks three vertebrae, Greipel has collarbone surgery|
|Waratahs blitz Rebels after scoring 38 unanswered points|
|Del Potro relishing Federer showdown|
|Australia to host two games against Team USA in 2019|
|Grizzlies snap 19-game losing streak, LeBron´s triple-double lifts Cavs|
|McIlroy suggests limiting alcohol sales after Bay Hill abuse|
|Marotta dismisses Allegri-PSG links as Juve focus on Can|
|MLS Review: Champions Toronto still winless, Atlanta crush Whitecaps|
|Lukaku: A lot of players will join Manchester United next season|
|I feel like I just woke up – Indian Wells finalist Federer explains slow start|
|High-flying Reds win third straight in Buenos Aires|
|Salah and Liverpool don´t fear Man City: We´ve beaten them!|
|What can I lose? - Mourinho defends criticism of Man Utd players|
|Mourinho accuses Manchester United of being scared to play|
|Mourinho delivers stinging Shaw criticism after FA Cup win|
|Haskell: England not good enough during Six Nations|
|Allegri waits on Chiellini update after Juve´s SPAL stalemate|
|Stenson leads by one with DeChambeau and McIlroy lurking|
|Racing put pressure on leaders Montpellier as Toulon are toppled|
|Klopp eases concerns over Can´s back complaint|
|Six Nations defeats make no difference to England mindset – Hartley|
|Matic was an island of personality - Mourinho questions United mentality|
|Del Potro demolishes Raonic to set up Federer final|
|He´s getting quicker on the Zimmer frame – Schmidt jokes about Best future|
|SPAL 0 Juventus 0: Scudetto charge halted by Serie A strugglers|
|Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Lukaku & Matic book semi-final spot|
|Fresh rib fracture for Cavendish but ´no serious injury´ after crash|
|Unbeaten Federer fights back to reach Indian Wells final|
|Klopp: Salah could be among world´s best, but don´t compare him to Messi|
|Woods hopes to still be within reach at Arnold Palmer Invitational|
|Championship Review: Wolves on the charge as Monk lifts Birmingham´s spirits|
|Twickenham boos will ´put me to sleep at night´, Jones claims|
|Salah threatening Rush´s record for goals in single Liverpool season|
|Hodgson hopes Zaha avoided injury|
|Snow causes Wakefield-Widnes abandonment|
|Liverpool 5 Watford 0: Inspirational Salah nets four as Reds bounce back|
|Lambert rues Everton´s ´offside´ opener in costly Stoke City defeat|
|Scotland´s late rally leaves Townsend feeling positive for the future|
|Wales hold off France to claim second behind Ireland|
|Man Utd bench Pogba & Sanchez for FA Cup quarter-final|
|Pardew: Evans loss key to Bournemouth defeat|
|Zarco breaks track record to claim Qatar pole after Rossi crashes in practice|
|Ireland had to make every moment count against England – Best|
|Salah breaks Torres´ impressive Liverpool record|
|We are not heroes one day and villains the next – Mourinho continues defence of Sevilla exit|
|Lions bounce back against Sunwolves, Stormers end miserable streak|
|Jones: England losing streak only natural|
|They have many players who´d get in my team – The Sevilla stars Mourinho should buy|
|Mario Gomez will not beg for World Cup place|
|England´s form continues to run cold in Twickenham snow|
|Nibali holds on in Milan-San Remo as Cavendish crashes again|
|Bournemouth 2 West Brom 1: Stanislas piles misery on Pardew|
|Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Crystal Palace 2: Tomkins and Milivojevic secure priceless win|
|Stockdale makes history as ruthless Ireland win Grand Slam|