Manchester United vs. Chelsea  0 - 1

Article

Win over Manchester United ´like a final´, says Mata

6 May 2013 11:01

Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata has compared his side's victory over Manchester United on Sunday to winning a cup final.

The Spaniard's deflected 86th-minute strike ensured Rafael Benitez's men ran out 1-0 winners at Old Trafford to move up to third place in Premier League.

And Mata has underlined the importance of the win to Chelsea's prospects of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

"It's a very important victory for us. It was like a final," he said. "We have another great game in the week we will try to win and try to be closer to our aim, which is to be third.

"I am scoring more goals than ever. I am really happy but the only thing I want is to keep scoring, assisting and helping my team until the end. Chelsea deserves to play in the UEFA Champions League next season. If we play together I think we can do it."

The Spain international went on to admit that his side had not been at their peak, but hailed the character shown to grab three points.

"It wasn't our best game, it was a bit slow in the first half but we fought to the end and scored after 86 minutes which is important," he said. "The other team had no time to react. We were together and now we can get ready for Wednesday.

"It can be a good season for us if we finish third and win a trophy."

Chelsea will all but secure a top-four finish with a win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Article

Benitez sets sights on Tottenham

5 May 2013 21:13

Rafael Benitez was keen to move on from Chelsea's 1-0 win at Manchester United on Sunday and focus on their upcoming clash with Tottenham.

Juan Mata scored the only goal of the game in the 87th minute to settle the fixture and cement Chelsea's position in the top four.

But the Spanish manager insists that the focus now switches to Wednesday's fixture with Spurs as they look to clinch a UEFA Champions League berth ahead of their London rivals.

"It was a massive win for us because we felt we would need six points from our home fixtures to get into the top four, so it was an important three points," Benitez said.

"If we can beat Tottenham we are in the driving seat because of our better goal difference.

"Tottenham are a good side it will be a good game for both teams.

"This was difficult and important but Wednesday even more so, it could be crucial. It's more important for Tottenham to win the game, it will be a great atmosphere at Stamford Bridge."

The 53-year-old was happier with his side's performance after the re-start following a lacklustre opening 45 minutes from both sides.

And while chances at both ends were limited it was Chelsea who were able to capitalise.

"When the goal came we were really pleased, it was an important step forward," he added.

"United, after winning the title, normally they will be able to be a bit more relaxed. In my half-time team-talk I was saying to increase the tempo, we were missing a high tempo in the first half that you need to beat a team like United.

"The second half still wasn't perfect but it was enough to win the game, I'm very pleased for the players."

Article

Rafael red was wrong, insists Ferguson

5 May 2013 19:56

Alex Ferguson believes Howard Webb was wrong to dismiss Rafael da Silva in Manchester United's 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.

The Brazilian was shown a straight red card for kicking out at David Luiz after Juan Mata had scored the only goal of the game in the 87th minute, and while Ferguson lamented his player's reaction to provocation from Luiz, the Scot did not believe Rafael deserved to be dismissed.

"It was the elbow, that's what happens, the player retaliates and pays the penalty," Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"It was clear Luiz elbowed him twice actually, it was rash what he's done, he's a young lad but retaliation never works.

"I wouldn't say it was violent conduct. I don’t think the referee's seen it at all, he's gone with the fact that Luiz has rolled four or five times.

"I can't make any excuses for our players in terms of the performance, certainly a lot of the decisions went against us, they were surrounding the referee all day.

"I don’t think it was a foul (on Wayne Rooney in the build-up to Mata's goal) but we wouldn't have got anything from the referee anyway. It was a bit of a lucky goal, it deflected off Phil Jones so there was a wee bit of luck with that."

Ferguson conceded that the champions had not played well enough to claim victory against the UEFA Europa League finalists after a largely sterile display at Old Trafford.

"I think obviously we had the foot off the pedal in a big way," the 71-year-old commented.

"Chelsea deserved to win, it was controversial but it always is with Chelsea. We can't complain, we didn't play well enough. It's difficult to say why."

Article

Premier League: Manchester United 0 Chelsea 1

5 May 2013 18:55

Juan Mata struck in the 87th minute as Chelsea boosted their top-four hopes with a 1-0 at Manchester United on Sunday.

The Spaniard struck following a game bereft of quality, while the hosts had Rafael sent off late on for a kick on David Luiz as the champions slumped to defeat.

United made five changes as Anders Lindegaard, Nemanja Vidic, Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs replaced David de Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Nani.

The away continued their rotation policy with Ashley Cole, Juan Mata, Demba Ba and Gary Cahill all coming in. Eden Hazard missed out with a groin strain.

It was Chelsea who made the brighter start to the game. A well-worked one-two between Mata and Victor Moses resulted in the Spaniard crossing towards the back post but he put it behind Ba who skewed his header.

The visitors could have twice taken the lead when first Oscar broke away from the right-hand side of his own half, he powered into the box but had his shot pushed onto the post be Lindegaard before Moses blasted over from the Brazilian's centre.

Quality moments were few and far between for either side. Van Persie and Ba shot off target as frustrations began to rumble down from the stands.

Cleverley had another chance from outside the box, as Giggs played a dangerous ball into the box that Petr Cech parried away. Driving onto the ball, the England international blazed it high into the stand.

Van Persie had United's best chance just before half-time, Giggs split the Chelsea defence with his through-ball down the left and the Dutchman tried to apply the finish with the outside of his boot, but it hit his shin and went wide of the near post.

The second half began in the same manner as the first ended with both sides struggling to carve out chances.

Chelsea came close when Cesar Azpilicueta chipped a pass to Mata in the box, he pulled it back for Frank Lampard but the midfielder hit his effort over.

Rooney entered the fray for United in the 69th minute and almost grabbed the opener soon after. Antonio Valencia's cross was met by the Englishman but he was off balance and the ball bounced out of play.

At the other end, Lampard was afforded space to cross and whipped a ball in that Mata could only scuff off target from six yards, before it was cleared for a corner.

But the Spaniard finally broke the deadlock with just three minutes to go. A Chelsea counter-attack saw Ramires burst through midfield before finding Oscar, he laid to Mata on the left-hand side of the box and the 25-year-old applied the finish into the far corner.

Moments later, Rafael received a straight red card for kicking Luiz. as the centre-back tried to run the ball out for a goal kick.

Chelsea safely saw out injury-time to secure three points and tighten their grip on a UEFA Champions League place, leaving them three points ahead of Tottenham in fifth ahead of the sides' meeting on Wednesday.

Article

Benitez vows to ´fight´ against rival Ferguson

5 May 2013 13:04

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has stressed he will not shirk any dispute with Alex Ferguson when they face Manchester United.

The London club take on the newly-crowned Premier League champions at Old Trafford on Sunday knowing a win will boost their chances of securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League.

However, there promises to be an interesting sub-plot at Old Trafford with Benitez, who has been fierce rivals with the United boss since his days as Liverpool manager, promising to stand his ground on the sidelines when their respective sides do battle.

"I don't like personal confrontation, but obviously you want to stand up. The manager is there and you are close to them [on the touchline], so if he wants to fight, you have to fight," Benitez said.

"I don't have any problem with that. But I like to concentrate on football issues, that is the main thing, tactically and details about the game.

"In England, sometimes you talk about mind games, but the mind games are just an excuse when you don’t want to talk about the other things."

A victory over United would see fourth-placed Chelsea move ahead of local rivals Arsenal and go three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham.

Article

Ivanovic calls for one last push from Chelsea

4 May 2013 17:17

Branislav Ivanovic has urged his Chelsea team-mates to push right to the end in their marathon season.

The Stamford Bridge outfit face their 65th game of the campaign against newly crowned champions Manchester United on Sunday and some of their squad are bound to be feeling heavy-legged as the season draws to a close.

However, Rafael Benitez's men still have everything to play for as they battle to secure UEFA Champions League qualification for 2013-14 and win some silverware in the form of the UEFA Europa League when they face Benfica in the final in Amsterdam on May 15.

With this in mind, the Serbia international has told Chelsea's official website there can be no let up as they prepare for another vital week, which starts at Old Trafford and also includes clashes with top-four rivals Tottenham and relegation-threatened Aston Villa.

"Our performances are getting better with every game, we now have three difficult matches coming up before the final," the defender said.

"We have to get points from the next two games to secure it (Champions League qualification), and then it will be much easier to prepare for the final."

Ivanovic went on to explain that 2012-13 - which will end with Chelsea having played 69 games - has been a huge physical challenge.

"This kind of season feels like three rolled into one," the 29-year-old added.

"It's been really difficult but we knew that before the season started, although I can't really remember it because when you look back it seems so far away."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25