Man Utd boss Mourinho: I had to protect Ibrahimovic

Graeme Le Saux and Steve Mc Claren have queried Jose Mourinho's recent criticism of Luke Shaw

Chelsea still lead the standings with 75 points but are now threatened by the Tottenham Hotspurs, with 71 points and in second place.

If Conte was frustrated, he hid it well as he spoke of six cup finals awaiting Chelsea in the closing weeks while also underlining how far they have progressed from the struggles of last season and indeed the early weeks of this campaign.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte took the blame and claimed his side's title chances had been reduced to "50 per cent probability" after defeat by Manchester United.

Goals from Marcus Rashford and Andre Herrera earned Jose Mourinho his first victory in three matches against Conte's Chelsea, who failed to register a single shot on target for the first time in a Premier League match since December 2015.

This prompted a reshuffle in the back 5, and just as when Victor Moses missed the Crystal Palace game through injury, shifting the delicately balanced defensive structure proved costly. They showed more desire than us and more motivation, but in this case, I think the fault is with the coach.

"We have one month to go, it's many games we play", Ibrahimovic said in quotes reported by the Daily Telegraph ahead of Sunday's clash with Chelsea.

"One is the Europa League and the second is finish in the top four because I think playing in the Champions League is a very good objective for next season".

"If he was subdued in his interview after the game I think you can accept that because his team just haven't performed".

A Spurs surge to the title certainly isn't out of the question but as United manager Jose Mourinho put it, when asked about his former club, Chelsea remain favourites. "I am very happy", he said after the victory at Old Trafford. The league is open. For me if we were able to reach this target it would be a miracle.

But Chelsea does have a more favourable run-in than Tottenham.

United manager Jose Mourinho started with top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench but delivered a tactical masterclass against his former club, largely nullifying the threat from the usually unsafe Eden Hazard.

"Sometimes Hazard, sometimes Hazard-Pedro controlling the position of these two players, and controlling the full-backs because they go really deep with two wide men would create them lots of problems".

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