SOUTHAMPTON, England — Romelu Lukaku’s first-half strike gave Manchester United a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Southampton in the English Premier League on Saturday.

The Belgian forward’s sixth goal in as many league games proved decisive and ensured United remained level with Manchester City at the top of the table.

United manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands in the closing stages.

Southampton failed to score at home for the ninth time in 11 matches at St Mary’s.

United appears to have lost some of its early season fluency since losing Paul Pogba to a hamstring injury 10 days ago, and the midfielder’s absence was evident once more as Southampton dominated possession.

However, while Southampton couldn’t turn its possession into goals, United was ruthless.

Ashley Young, the latest player to be given a chance at left back by Mourinho, cut back onto his right foot and curled a perfect cross into the box for Lukaku to attack.

The striker’s initial attempt was saved by Fraser Forster but Lukaku was the first to react and poked the ball into the empty net 20 minutes in.

Southampton’s best chances fell to Oriol Romeu. The midfielder spurned a chance from close range, and later saw a header cleared off the line by Marouane Fellaini.

United held on to take its tally to 16 points from its opening six games, matching its best ever start to a league. Southampton is 11th.