Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho felt his 3-5-2 formation worked well for the most part at Rostov tonight.
United recorded a 1-1 draw with the Russians in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg at the Stadion Olimp-2 after Alexander Bukharov levelled following Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first-half opener.
Mourinho went with a three-man defence consisting of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo, while playing five across the midfield on a pitch lacking in quality, and he was happy with the way his players operated in tough conditions.
Mourinho told BT Sport: "I think it worked very well.
"The only problem was the goal because I think playing against these 2 strikers we were in control, I had the feeling we were in control.
"But they are like this, they are direct, they don't use the wingers, just put the ball in the box.
"Our three guys were good and in the middle they had a very positive game. They fought for second balls, they gave something in attack."
Mourinho added: "The game plan was that we know they don't try to play - they tried to put the ball always to the front, into their strikers.
"That's the way they play on this pitch and so the best thing to do was to play three at the back."
United will now head back to England with a vital away goal in their grasp ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford next Thursday.