Jose Mourinho hailed Marcos Rojo's "phenomenal" performance in Manchester United's 1-0 EFL Cup win over Manchester City on Wednesday.
Rojo has been struggling to secure regular first-team action this campaign, but formed a centre-back pairing with Daley Blind in the absence of Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly.
"We are used to playing with Bailly and Smalling but we have lost both to injury," Mourinho told MUTV
"We had to play with two left-footed central defenders and Marcos had not played for a while, but he played phenomenally."
Mourinho was equally pleased with Ander Herrera's performance in midfield, while he also had words of encouragement for Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick.
"We were getting confident step by step, we were starting to trust our defensive organisation," Mourinho added.
"Then in the second half, especially Herrera, Carrick and Pogba, they increased the tempo. They started pressing higher.
"I thought Ander brought the team to different levels of intensity and pressing. Then we started recovering balls and being dangerous."
United have been paired with West Ham in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.