The Blues became only the third side to win at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season, and beat Manchester United for the third time during the current campaign, after Juan Mata’s goal four minutes from time sunk the champions and secured a vital three points.
The Blues performed well for much of the game, and went close through Oscar and Frank Lampard, but as the match edged towards its conclusion, Mata won it for us with a well-taken strike which cannoned into the back of the net via the foot of the post.
Having seen both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur win yesterday, a positive result was imperative in terms of our quest to secure Champions League football for next season.
The game against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday is now a pivotal one, but as the manager reflected on one positive result, he looked forward to what will hopefully be another in midweek.
On the result
‘It was a massive win for us,’ he said. ‘We knew we had to get six or seven points to guarantee finishing in the top four. When the goal came it was a massive step forward for us.
‘United, after winning the title, were probably a bit more relaxed. I said at half-time we had to increase the tempo, we were doing well but missing the intensity you need to beat a team like United.
‘The players are really pleased, they were enjoying it and everybody wants to be involved at this time of the season.’
On Rafael’s sending off
‘I was not interested in it because I’ve seen 200 incidents in the Premier League this year and it changes nothing.’
On Wednesday’s game against Tottenham
‘If we can win we will be there, but Tottenham are a good team and it will be a final for the top four.
‘This game was difficult and important for us. Wednesday will be even more important as we are so close to them. Winning is crucial for us, it’s even more important for them, so there will be a great atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.
‘We will try to win because we know it will guarantee a top-four finish, I don’t see more or less pressure for either team, I know we just need to win.’
On his role in recent results
‘When you have a good team you can win, managers can talk and talk but the players on the pitch are the ones who can make a difference
‘I have to do my job, when I came here I was convinced we could do well, and we are in a good position.’
On the performances of Juan Mata this season
‘Sometimes you have players growing, and Mata is one of them. He could be Player of the Year for what he’s done for us, scoring goals and giving assists.’
On the absence of Eden Hazard
‘He had a problem with his calf. He trained yesterday and we thought he was fine, but we didn’t want to take a risk with him.
‘He could be available [for Wednesday], the physios are working with him and he could be fit.’
On the long-term prospects of the side
‘This is a team in transition and there are young players who need to settle. You have to show experience in some games. Next year they will have more experience and the team will be even better.’