• Premier League

Jose: Tough for United to get top four

ESPN staff
January 19, 2014 « Eto'o treble hands United seventh defeat | Chartbeat test »
Mourinho: We deserved win

Jose Mourinho believes it will be tough for Manchester United to claw their way back into the top four after watching Chelsea inflict a 3-1 defeat on the stuttering champions at Stamford Bridge.

Samuel Eto'o scored a hat-trick for Chelsea before Javier Hernandez pulled a goal back - but Mourinho stressed that he expects United to carry on fighting.

"Mathematically it is possible but I think it's hard," he said. "Maybe one team will collapse but for three teams to collapse [Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City] and lose so many points it is difficult, so for them I think it is hard to finish in the top four.

"We shall see, but they will fight and hopefully will win against the other contenders because now we won't play against them."

Mourinho also explained his decision to play Eto'o ahead of fellow striker Fernando Torres, saying: "I had the creative players and I wanted someone with a bit more quality around the box.

"Fernando is more about space and pace. Man United were trying to be compact and we needed a player like Samuel. He works well for us."

Captain John Terry said Chelsea had handed out a "pasting" to United, who had Nemanja Vidic sent off in the closing stages.

The result left them in third place, two points off the lead, and Terry said: "I think the result shows we're pushing and trying to keep with Arsenal and Man City. As the manager said, the other two are looking very strong at the moment and it's important we are keeping within touching distance of them.

"The last two weeks have been important because we have worked on different defensive work. We are looking much more of a unit now and together.

"It's very interesting. Man City and Arsenal are looking very good. It was an important game for us today because Man United are still a very good side, but we won and kept very close to leaders."

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