Jose Mourinho refused to reveal what he specifically told his players at half-time during Manchester United's dramatic 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Monday (5 March) but he did admit a change of tactics helped secure a remarkable comeback from two goals behind.
Andros Townsend put Roy Hodgson's side ahead in the 11th minute before Patrick van Aanholt doubled their lead early in the second half. However, United managed to claim the three points thanks to goals from Chris Smalling, Romelu Lukaku and a stunning stoppage-time winner from Nemanja Matic.
Mourinho admitted after the game that his change of tactics during an agitated half-time talk helped United to turn the things around as Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Luke Shaw came on with versatile Jesse Lingard switching to a "crazy" right wing-back role.
"I cannot tell you half of the things I told my team at half-time because there would be lots of bleeping on television. But what I can say was all about the tactical positioning. To come back from 2-0 down away from home against a team that is desperate for points, it gives us a great feeling," Mourinho said following the victory as quoted by United official website.
"That disgraceful, childish second goal changed everything. But the players kept an amazing attitude. Juan Mata was finding spaces inside, Marcus Rashford was open on the left and brought their right-back wide to give us more space in the middle. You always need that little bit of luck to win a match in the last few minutes."
"I think Marcus [Rashford] was good and immediately he created dangerous situations and immediately he opened more space in between defenders. Our attacking players could make runs and penetrate in these gaps, so by the positional point of view, he was very good for us and then I think what I call the crazy right-back was also very important.
"We had to take the risks and [Jesse] Lingard as a right-back is this kind of crazy right-back that can make a defensive mistake by losing his position, but he can also be an extra man attacking other areas. I think it was difficult for them [Crystal Palace], Roy [Hodgson] saw it, he then brought [Alexander] Sorloth to play wide and try to cover him, but he was really aggressive and [Juan] Mata came to the inside so I think we created them a lot of problems in the second half."
The victory leaves United second in the Premier League table ahead of Liverpool and allows Mourinho's side to open a nine-point gap over fifth-placed Chelsea in the race for the top four with nine games remaining.
"We want to finish second, but it is huge pressure for us to finish in the top four. Now we have a little pillow. Even a point would have been good for us tonight after being 2-0 behind," Mourinho said before insisting that he always thought that United could secured all the three points.
"I think Palace deserve congratulations, because a match like this is only possible with two teams. I would say it was with three teams because the referee wanted to keep the intensity of the game going. It was a fantastic match. It was a difficult match for me because my team made so many mistakes," the United boss added.
"We played very good quality football in the second half but we made so many defensive mistakes. I don't like my teams to lose their organisation like we did, but it was an amazing match and a very important win for us.
"Their second goal made things much more difficult for us, but Chris Smalling's goal was very important. I always believe we can win. I will be like that until my last day. Some days more than others but after Smalling's goal, I always thought it was possible," the Portuguese said.