Antonio Conte rates Chelsea title chances 50-50 after Manchester United defeat

And the United boss believes the victory proves his team would have beaten Chelsea in last month's FA Cup quarter-final tie, had Herrera not received a controversial red card in that match at Stamford Bridge.

"I was convinced even before the cup (game) that controlling the two players that play behind Diego (Costa) and controlling the full-backs would create lots of problems and I repeat the same", Mourinho said.

"We knew that playing this way would be very hard for them".

"I think Marcus is a great player", the Italy full-back said.

"It's [my fault], because in this case I wasn't able to spur the right desire or motivation to play this kind of game". Against Crystal Palace we didn't deserve to lose.

Mourinho was understandably delighted with the win and, though he's hailed the character in his squad as some of the best he's seen, he's admitted the club need more "quality" to mount a title challenge.

"They struggled to cope with us defensively and they struggled to cope with us with Marcus and other target points we had on the pitch. It's right to focus on the game and not to find an excuse", Conte told Chelsea's official website after the match.

"We must have great enthusiasm to play these last six games, with patience and a great will to fight. We must have the same".

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United's manager was understandably chuffed yesterday, proclaiming that he had found a system to halt Chelsea's seemingly unstoppable march to the title.

The visitors were left frustrated by the first goal, though, with Chelsea claiming Herrera had handled in the build-up. I was running with my arms next to my body and I don't know if the ball touched my arm or not, but it was not my intention.

"If you don't have the intention to touch the ball and your hands are in a natural position it is not a handball".

Herrera was tasked with man-marking Eden Hazard throughout the match and Neville picked the Spaniard as the Man of the Match for Sky Sports after the game. He then spent the next 76 minutes terrorizing Chelsea's entire defense with four shots, four successful dribbles and a pass that should've been turned into an assist.

Herrera said of the team's performance: "It was nearly ideal". And we're saying that basically they can just fall apart? "We can be very happy".

"It's not so much stepping up to the plate, because we're a team and just missing one player doesn't cancel out everything that we've worked on in the week".

  • Julie Sanders