Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says Manchester United's title race is all but over after seeing his side dominate the reigning Premier League champions in a 3-1 victory.
"It is hard [for them]," Mourinho said after claiming his 100th Premier League win in the victory over David Moyes's side. "They are 14 points behind Arsenal, 13 behind Manchester City and 12 from us. Maybe one team collapses but for three to collapse is difficult, so for them I think it is the fight to finish in the top four.
"They will do that with their pride and tradition and fight and hopefully they win against the other contenders because now we do not play against them in the league."
Mourinho also praised striker Samuel Eto'o after the Cameroonian doubled his Premier League goals tally with a clinical hat-trick.
"The second goal was the killer in the box I know from many years ago," Mourinho said. "It looks like Samuel Eto'o is coming back."
Chelsea captain John Terry applauded his side's display. "In the first 15 minutes they were on top but we didn't panic, kept our shape and hit them on the counter-attack," he said.
The Blues skipper added: "The other two [Arsenal and Manchester City] are looking very strong at the moment and it was important we kept in touch with them."
Manchester United manager David Moyes said his side "could only blame themselves" after a poor defensive performance.
Chelsea 3 Manchester United 1 player ratings
Chelsea 3 Manchester United 1 player ratings
1/22 Petr Cech 6/10
Stopped efforts from Young and Welbeck but little to do as United struggled. Troubled more by his own footwork before Hernandez consolation
2/22 Branislav Ivanovic 6/10
Wasted chance after good work from Ramires on return from three weeks out. Untroubled defensively for long spells but lost Hernandez for goal
3/22 Gary Cahill 7/10
Calm head in opposing area allowed the centre-back to square for Eto’o second on stroke of half-time. Header led to Chelsea’s third as well
4/22 John Terry 6/10
The former England captain enjoyed one of quieter games against Manchester United as the champions failed to create until the game was over
5/22 Cesar Azpilicueta 6/10
Quick to sense danger as Welbeck prepared to shoot before break, pressurising him with tackle. Got forward when he could - which was often
6/22 Ramires 7/10
Brazilian enforcer was quick to snuff out danger from United midfield and provided platform for attacking team-mates to cause damage further upfield
7/22 David Luiz 6/10
First in the book after scything down Valencia before being chastised by his manager for positional inaccuracies. Held ground with authority
8/22 Willian 6/10
Surprise starter and gave the ball away in opening quarter before settling into rhythm. Caused United problems with his strong running
9/22 Oscar 6/10
Shot wide as Chelsea found their feet following a slow start. Wrongly chose to scissor-kick when could have headed in. Taken off for Mikel
10/22 Eden Hazard 7/10
Quiet beginning for the in-form Belgian playmaker but began to cut in from the left wing at will as Chelsea turned the screw and won at a canter
11/22 Samuel Eto'o 7/10
Speculative shot looped in for opener before making the most of poor United defending to double his Premier League tally in a single afternoon
12/22 David De Gea 5/10
Could do little with Eto’o’s first but the Spaniard should be disappointed with his efforts for the Cameroon forward’s second and third strikes
13/22 Rafael 5/10
Not enjoying best season and struggled to cope with pace and intensity. Completely switched off for Eto’o’s second and lucky to stay on after Cahill challenge
14/22 Jonny Evans 5/10
Cut out Hazard cross in opening quarter but unable to offer much resistence thereafter. Will never be an able replacement for Rio Ferdinand
15/22 Nemanja Vidic 5/10
Left dawdling as he played everyone onside for Eto’o’s second. Poor afternoon capped as mindless lunge on Hazard rightfully saw him dismissed
16/22 Patrice Evra 6/10
Found the side netting with early foray forward but effect on game waned. Given the runaround by Chelsea’s incisive passing and movement
17/22 Phil Jones 5/10
First appearance for a month and it showed. Slow to close down Eto’o for Chelsea’s opener before a typically robust challenge on Luiz
18/22 Michael Carrick 6/10
Unwittingly forced Eto’o shot up over De Gea. Stuck to task well but not the personality United needed against a Chelsea side right in their groove
19/22 Antonio Valencia 6/10
Eager to make an impression in the opening minutes but strong challenges from Luiz and Ramires appeared to scare him out of the game
20/22 Adnan Januzaj 7/10
Multi-nationalist caused problems for home defence with his tricky footwork and wingplay and was United’s best chance of creating anything of note
21/22 Ashley Young 6/10
Returned from shoulder injury and caused problems early on. Needless booking for pulling back Ramires after ceding possession. Quiet after break
22/22 Danny Welbeck 6/10
Came into match on form and linked up well with Young but just does not offer the threat of Rooney or Van Persie. Slow to get shot away in first half
"We did not defend well enough," Moyes said. "We did not do what was required in the crucial areas [of the pitch]."
But the under-fire United manager insisted his side had "played well in parts of the game", adding: "We did not deserve to be 2-0 down at half time."
And Moyes once again bemoaned the decisions against his side. He criticised referee Phil dowd for Nemanja Vidic's late dismissal, saying: "Vidic's for me is not a red card, it was a yellow card."