Louis van Gaal praised his Manchester United players for standing up to the physical challenge posed by Watford at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils creaked a little as Watford missed some presentable first-half chances, but they rallied late to seal a 1-0 win thanks to an 83rd minute Juan Mata free-kick.
The result catapults United back into Champions League contention on a night when Tottenham, Manchester City, and Arsenal all lost.
“It was a physical game,” admitted Van Gaal. “They (Watford) are twice the size of our players, I am very proud of my team.
“To beat Watford is a fantastic result – and also with others losing. I have to say we gave their chances away, it was not that Watford were creating them.”
Van Gaal was keen to reserve special praise for young defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who was thrust into a debut due to an injury crisis.
“They were pressing us and we gave too many balls away also in the second half. Tim [Fosu-Mensah], with his speed, rescued us a lot.
“I am very pleased that he was on the pitch. He always closed the door for us.”