Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea proved to be bittersweet as Manchester United were thrashed by former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. United got off to the worst possible start as they found themselves behind within a minute of play, and things didn’t get any better as they went on to concede another three without reply before the final whistle.
Mourinho set up his side in similar fashion to the Liverpool match last week, with the only change being Jesse Lingard in place of Ashley Young on the left of midfield.
The match started off with a calamity of errors as United fell behind after only 30 seconds. Pedro rounded De Gea and slotted home after a lack of communication between Smalling and Blind allowed Pedro through. It was the fastest goal of the season thus far, and it set the tone for the rest of the match.
The shell-shocked Reds were in desperate need of a response and almost got one seven minutes later when Zlatan Ibrahimovic rose to meet a deep Valencia cross from the right, but the striker headed just over the bar.
The next goal came courtesy of a corner kick from Hazard on the twenty minute mark, with Gary Cahill firing past De Gea from close range. Hazard’s corner deflected off Ander Hererra into Cahill’s path, and the defender needed no further invitation to fire home.
United started the second half with more bad news as Eric Bailly was forced off with an injury, which was later confirmed by Jose Mourinho to be more serious then first thought.
“He is injured, and I am afraid badly injured. In his knee – the ligament area”, remarked Jose after the game.
Things got worse ten minutes later as United fell another goal behind, this time by Eden Hazard. Matic fed a through ball to the Belgian, who shifted the ball to his right foot and curled round De Gea to make it 3-0.
Chelsea rounded off their win with a final goal from Kante. The midfielder was allowed to weave himself through the defence and roll the ball into the net with far too much ease.
It was a terrible performance from United all round, with no United player standing out. However, in particular Chris Smalling had a shocker having had an involvement in all four goals.
Jose was clearly frustrated as his team’s game plan went out the window effectively before the game even began.
“We come with a strategy, you cannot concede the first goal the way we did in the first minute and after that it changed completely the whole game.”
That game plan involved attacking the Chelsea side and playing offensive football, but it’s hard to keep that game plan when your defence is constantly making errors.
“We made incredible defensive mistakes. Individual defensive mistakes and you pay for that.”
Jose then recognized the importance of getting back to winning ways considering how the top teams will be playing each other in the following weeks.
“We need to win matches. We had a week with two matches away against two candidates – Liverpool and Chelsea, and now other teams from the top five will play between themselves. They have to draw and lose points.”
With relatively lower level opposition coming up for the Red Devils, it will provide a good opportunity to get back to winning ways.
“We play Burnley, we play Swansea, we play West Ham. We need to win our matches to close that gap but after these last three matches in the league where we had two draws and one defeat so we got two points out of nine but now we need points.”