Pundit: Why Manchester United beat Chelsea without Zlatan Ibrahimovic


The Blues went down to a meek loss at Old Trafford that blew the title race wide open, with closest rivals Tottenham remaining four points behind with six matches to play.

Mourinho set his team up in a similar way when United fell to a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup last month after being reduced to 10 men following Herrera's red card.

"That game was totally controlled when we played with 11 players and only the [refereeing] decision that made us play with 10 players for all the second half, plus 10 minutes in the first half, gave Chelsea a chance to be dominant".

Mourinho added: "Maybe we didn't "rest" players ahead of Thursday [the Europa League second leg], we just chose the team we thought was the best team". Everyone is concentrated for this end of the season because we know we play for two big opportunities.

United manager Jose Mourinho started with top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench but delivered a tactical masterclass against his former club, largely nullifying the threat from Eden Hazard.

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"He is a very good in every part of the game, he has a very good shot, movement, speed".

"Sometimes it is also normal that they have a period where they do not score".

"For this reason I think we must find the right enthusiasm".

"The front two caused them all sorts of problems". We gave them problems when they had the ball because we controlled very well and we gave them problems when we recovered the ball because we were really sharp and fast and aggressive in our transitions.

"So, I am very happy with the performance".

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"Before the Chelsea game some said Manchester United's tactics were negative in how they line up, but I disagree", he told The Sun. "Nobody can doubt our credit to win the game".

The team's two-pronged objective is to secure a top-four finish and win the Europa League as the season comes to a frantic conclusion.

He said: "They deserved to win, because they showed more desire than us, more motivation". I don't know if the ball touched my hand or not but it was not my intention.

Herrera said United had produced an "almost perfect" performance against the Premier League leaders and added: "They didn't have any chances".

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