Samuel Eto’o inspired the Blues to a fifth consecutive Premier League win, the striker scoring a hat-trick as we beat Manchester United 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Eto’o, having scored the winning goal in our victory over Liverpool last month, was the hero once more, and this time he walked away with the match ball after his first-half brace was added to three minutes after the break.
The visitors, who had Nemanja Vidic dismissed late on for a cynical foul on Eden Hazard, scored a consolation through substitute Javier Hernandez, but the damage had been done earlier in the game.
Jose Mourinho was left celebrating his 100th Premier League victory as Chelsea manager, and one that preserves his unbeaten home record in the competition.
Perhaps more significantly, however, it’s a win which keeps us within two points of leaders Arsenal and just one behind Manchester City.
The Portuguese was disappointed with the start we made to the game, but extremely pleased with our response.
‘I’m delighted with the three points, of course I love it when one of my players becomes a special player in the match and it’s a fantastic moment for Samuel, scoring a hat-trick against Man United,’ he said.
‘I think we deserved to win, but we didn’t deserve to be winning 2-0 at half time and they didn’t deserve to be losing 2-0 at half time. They started the match better than us and they were a bit unlucky that we scored at the moment.
‘After that the game was different, we controlled the first half and when we scored the second goal we were in a great position. The third goal basically killed the game but after that they were coming at us.
‘David made changes and tried to reduce the score. When they made it 3-1 I felt my team tired. We are a team that runs a lot and we press very high up the pitch. Our attacking players had big distances to run, United were dangerous, so when it was 3-1 we decided to control the game and the result. It must have been hard for them to have been playing so well in the first 20-25 minutes and be losing.’
Mourinho explained why he felt we struggled early on
‘We lost a lot of balls in the first period of the game, they put pressure on us with Jones and Carrick pressing high up the pitch. Willian, Hazard and Oscar were losing a lot of balls when they are normally very comfortable with that pressure.
‘Because of that they looked confident and strong, but the good thing for us is that at the moment we are a humble team and we can identify the moments when you are better and you can try to kill the game, but also when the opponent is better you have to control the game.
‘For the first 20 minutes they were better than us but my team were compact and showed solidarity. Normally we need four or five chances to score a goal but today, first shot, first goal and second shot, second goal.’
On his decision to start with Eto’o
‘Fernando is very dangerous with space, he’s more powerful than Samuel but I didn’t think Man United were coming here to give me spaces behind their defensive line, they came here to be compact.
‘I was expecting Fletcher not Jones, but it’s basically the same. I feel Samuel is a player with more technical ability and better in small spaces, his movement in small spaces is different to Fernando. It was a difficult decision because Fernando is scoring goals but my feeling, for this game, was that Samuel was more adaptive.’
Torres sustained an injury late in the game, with Mourinho ruling him out of the next few games
‘Lateral ligament in his knee, (he’ll be out for) weeks. It’s time for Demba, he has had a fantastic week and it was very difficult for me to leave him out because he’s worked very well.’
On the sending off and Rafael’s foul on Gary Cahill moments later
‘When players are frustrated things like this can happen. Frustration with the result, last part of the game, Hazard was running with the ball and maybe it should have been an orange card. Rafael’s was just down to frustration. I think the referee was good, I keep saying to my players that we need to help the referees, we don’t need to complicate their lives.’
On securing his 100th Premier League victory
‘It means we won today, I don’t care about records, I want to win the next match. It’s a coincidence because the first was against Man United and the 100th was against Man United. The previous owner of the record was Man United manager, so it’s a coincidence, but the most important thing is that these 100 matches gave Chelsea 300 points, and today was very important for us.’
He praised the likes of John Terry for his influence on the younger players
‘We have to improve, I want better, the first 20 minutes weren’t good. I want us to be in control from the beginning and we weren’t. They were stronger than us at the start but the good thing was we kept calm, kept humble but I want my team to do better.
‘They’re good kids, good players, and the older ones are giving stability to the team. I think John Terry had another fantastic performance. He took a couple of balls, one in the first half and one in the second, when he flicked the ball away as somebody was about to score at the back post, so the players are working really hard.’
David Moyes, meanwhile, felt his side were made to pay for defensive mistakes.
‘We didn’t defend set pieces well and that was probably the difference,’ said the United manager.
‘We had as many opportunities as Chelsea but we didn’t take them. We didn’t score when the opportunities came and we didn’t defend well enough.
‘I thought Vidic’s wasn’t a sending off but I’ve seen Rafael’s and that could have been.’