Monday, 24 April, 2017

Jose Mourionho reveals why Zlatan Ibrahimovic was dropped for Chelsea game

Antonio Conte has no plan in place to protect Eden Hazard at Old Trafford Manchester United v Chelsea in numbers
Sammy Stanley | 17 April, 2017, 00:56

He fired a first-time shot at goal that deflected off Zouma and beat the wrong footed Begovic to find the net for his first league goal of the season and United's second goal in the 49th minute.

Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are United's two highest appearance makers this season with 40 and 42 starts respectively.

Just a week after proclaiming that he felt "like Benjamin Button - I was born old and I will die young", Zlatan Ibrahimovic was relegated to bench duty against Chelsea with Jose Mourinho explaining the Swede was "tired, very exhausted".

The Blues' lead over second-placed Tottenham is now down to four points with six games remaining, while United boosted their own hopes of reaching the top four by extending their unbeaten league run to 22 games.

With all that said, Mourinho's programme notes before the Chelsea game made some interesting reading. "They showed more desire, more ambition, more motivation", said Conte.

"In this case, the fault is the coach".

They do not have any other tough match coming up in the Premier League, with an away game at Everton the only real match that can cause them any trouble.

In response to their taunts of "Judas!", he raised three fingers - one for each of the Premier League titles he won over his two spells as Chelsea manager.

Lingard was riding on the wave of joyous home fans when curling one over moments later, and half of Old Trafford thought that Rashford had added a third when thumping a powerful drive into the side-netting.

Spanaird Herrera did a masterful job man-marking Hazard while Italian Darmian kept Pedro quiet, with the result that Chelsea did not manage a single shot on target. Mourinho had devised a tactical masterclass.

Even so, Chelsea defender David Luiz was still exposed too easily by Herrera's precise pass, with Rashford allowed to gallop clear before slotting a cool finish under Asmir Begovic for his ninth goal of the season.

Chelsea produced possibly its sloppiest display of the past seven months, with the leaders not helped by left wing-back Marcos Alonso pulling out of the match during the warm-up as he struggled with the effects of a virus. Its last four games are against Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion, Watford and Sunderland.

"When you play for a big club the pressure is always there", he said. "We made some changes but some players played on Thursday and have to play again".

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