Zlatan Ibrahimovic was too exhausted to start the game against Chelsea, according to Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. United moved up to fifth place, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand, and is six points behind third-placed Liverpool having played two fewer games.
"Overall a good team and then of course they are playing once a week which makes a difference also because at the end of the season, I don't know how many games we have in total but I think we have much more than them".
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"We must have great enthusiasm to play these last six games, with patience and a great will to fight".
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A first Premier League goal in 14 months for Herrera made Chelsea's task all the more hard just four minutes into the second period, firing a loose ball past a wrong-footed Begovic with the aid of a big deflection off Zouma. In addition to Manchester United, Chelsea lost at home to Crystal Palace, a team who has been rescued from potential relegation by Sam Allardyce and has only lost once since mid-February.
Winning the Europa League still looks its best chance of Champions League qualification, but Mourinho says it will not abandon the battle for a top-four finish. Interestingly, Mourinho happens to be one of them.
"I was anxious at the start because it's not easy and when you arrive and find a situation totally different", he added. 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.
"I am always excited to do my job and play football, and especially when you have the opportunity to play for a big club with fantastic fans, so for me it is always exciting to be on the pitch and even more so if we can give them what they deserve". Having come off the back of a Europa League fixture, he told reporters in his post match presser that he expected his side to lose to Middlesbrough in the following game because his players were exhausted.
The excellent Ander Herrera, who man-marked Eden Hazard for much of the match, added a second shortly after half-time after his powerful shot deflected off the heel of Kurt Zouma, a late replacement for the unwell Marcos Alonso. Yet, if the Red Devils self-destruct (as they're known to do from time to time) it wouldn't the end of the world in the manager's eyes.