Five things we learned as N'Golo Kante's strike sees Chelsea knock out FA Cup holders Manchester United

N'Golo Kante's strike was enough to inflict another defeat on Jose Mourinho

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N’Golo Kante’s strike from outside the area was enough for Chelsea to edge pass 10-man Manchester United and knock the holders out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage.

But as the Blues head for the semi-finals, what can we take away from yet another defeat at Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho?

Herrera not quite a master of the dark arts

It is no wonder why Jose Mourinho loves Ander Herrera. He has the number one quality Mourinho looks for in a player, which is obedience, as well as a healthy familiarity with the dark arts. But this was a game where Herrera’s dirty side cost United dearly. Although it was Phil Jones’ job to stick to Hazard, on one of the many occasions where Hazard skipped away from him, Herrera dropped his shoulder into Hazard and was deservedly booked. United continued to target Hazard and when Herrera tripped him from behind, Michael Oliver was entitled to send him off. Being dirty has its uses, but the truly clever players know how to hide it better.


Herrera is shown red (Getty Images)

Mourinho channels his inner Pulis

Jose Mourinho still knows how to spring a tactical surprise. Manchester United have played 4-2-3-1 for almost all of the season but here he unveiled a formation no-one expected. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian played as a narrow back four, although Jones stepped into midfield to follow Eden Hazard at times. But with Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia playing as defensive wingers, they could drop back to form a flat back six. An unusual plan, only used by one other team in the Premier League this season: Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion.

Kante adds another string to his bow

It is no secret that N’Golo Kante is the best destructive midfielder in football, the fastest, strongest, sharpest, hardest working scurrier in the game. That was clear last season and is even truer now, as he drives his second team in two years to the Premier League crown. But here he showed that, when his team needs it, he can do the other side of the game too. Chelsea were working hard to break down United’s flat back six but they were leaving too much space in front of their own box. Paul Pogba could not get out to Kante quick enough, so Kante put the ball in the bottom corner. Is there anything he can’t do?


N'Golo Kante celebrates his goal (Getty)

Rashford’s miracle cure

It was to the credit of Manchester United’s medical department that they found a miracle cure for Marcus Rashford in time for him to play this game up front, instead of the rather less useful Marouane Fellaini. But Rashford did at least give United a mobility and speed up front that no-one else could have provided. He continued to chase lost causes, fashioning himself United’s best chance, beating David Luiz then skipping past Gary Cahill. He was denied by Thibaut Courtois when he should have scored, but he kept giving it everything, which is more than some of his team-mates did.


Rashford looks to bring the ball under control (AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea fans wash their hands with Mourinho


Mourinho returned to the Bridge - but it was another unhappy ending for the former boss (Getty)

How quickly loyalties change. Just over one year ago there were Jose Mourinho scarves and t-shirts on sale here, he was still the hero, even after his dismissal, which was blamed by some Chelsea fans on the players, rather than the manager. Not anymore. Mourinho was targeted by a section of Chelsea fans sat near the dug-outs in the east stand here. They told him to sit down, to go away (or words to that effect), and even called him a Judas. That was an unfair jibe: Judas did not return for a second spell with the apostles, and then get sacked. Mourinho responded in kind, pointing to himself, to the pitch, holding up three fingers, indicating the three Premier League titles he won here. This bond will not be fixed soon.