Conspiracy theory? Mourinho on why his Man United team struggle v Chelsea

Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic

United's performance was one of their best since Mourinho took charge last summer and the Portuguese praised his players' attitude. "They have to kill the game and they didn't", he said.

Mourinho told Sky Sports that Ibrahimovic is on the bench because he is "very tired", adding: "I'll try to protect him but let's see the result". "Absolutely", Ibrahimovic said. "Today I wasn't feeling good in the sense of I was feeling exhausted". Today we deserved to lose the game.

"The game was totally controlled with 11 players, only the decision that made us play with 10 men for the second half and 10 minutes in the first half gave Chelsea a chance to be dominant".

Herrera, who denied deliberately handling the ball prior to setting up Rashford's opener, said United's display had been "almost perfect".

Should United win the competition, they will secure a place in the Champions League next season. "We fight for it".

Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are United's two highest appearance makers this season with 40 and 42 starts respectively. Rashford excelled up front, stretching Chelsea's center backs with the kind of movement and pace that Ibrahimovic would not be able to offer.

"The last time they played was last weekend".

"They haven't been playing in Europe this season and they went out from the League Cup early".

"I can't think of many occasions, with anybody I've worked with, where someone has been criticised publicly and it's really paid dividends".

The Special One was sacked by Chelsea last season after the Blues began the campaign horrendously, while Mourinho also had plenty of other problems including his eventual legal case against Eva Carneiro. Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, right, celebrates with teammate Philippe Coutinho after scoring his side's first goal during their English Premier League soccer match against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, Eng. Chelsea, for their part, have a clean bill of health, meaning United will have to contend with the likes of N'Golo Kanté, Eden Hazard, and Diego Costa. "It depends how you look at it", he said.

"Until now it's a good season, I hope it will become a great season". I think for every coach our work is important every day and then to be judged.

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