Mourinho: 'We got our motivation from the record'

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The Independent Football

Chelsea rewrote the history books in champion style at Old Trafford last night, shrugging off an early goal by Ruud van Nistelrooy to triumph 3-1 and overhaul Manchester United's record of 92 points in a Premiership campaign with one game still to play.

Chelsea rewrote the history books in champion style at Old Trafford last night, shrugging off an early goal by Ruud van Nistelrooy to triumph 3-1 and overhaul Manchester United's record of 92 points in a Premiership campaign with one game still to play.

After watching his team respond with goals by Tiago, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Joe Cole, Jose Mourinho hailed the result and performance as "the perfect way" to sweep past the landmark United set in 1993-94. "I think we played an amazing game," the Chelsea manager said. "I don't like matches without pressure and even though we had already won the championship, we got our motivation from the record."

Gudjohnsen, the outstanding individual in a typically cohesive and competitive team display, said: "We still had something to play for - the record." In fact, Chelsea wrested another record from United, overtaking their tally of 28 victories in a Premiership season.

United's players also had an additional incentive, that of booking a place in Sir Alex Ferguson's FA Cup final line-up against Arsenal in Cardiff a week on Saturday. The United manager glossed over their second-half fade-out, saying: "I thought we were in control after we scored, but when they got their second, they took charge." He absolved his goalkeeper, Roy Carroll, of blame for Chelsea's first, a swerving 32-yard shot by Tiago that left Carroll flat-footed as it clipped the upright on its way in. "It was a bit of a freak," the manager said.

Ferguson paid tribute to Chelsea's players, suggesting that with the title secure, "they could have come here and had a nice easy time". No such luck for United. Even without John Terry, who missed his first game of the season after Mourinho decided he should undergo long-delayed surgery on a toe injury, they moved into overdrive after levelling. Gudjohnsen chipped Carroll to put them ahead on the hour, while Cole, looking a yard offside, put the outcome beyond doubt after slack work by Wes Brown with seven minutes remaining.

Chelsea thus moved an astonishing 20 points clear of United, for whom the defeat confirmed third place for the second season running.

Mourinho, who dedicated the win to Terry, was asked whether Chelsea had to retain the title to prove themselves a great team. His reply at first seemed a departure from his trademark arrogance. "I don't say next season, because there is United, Arsenal, Liverpool and maybe another team."

Then came the warning to their rivals: "But in my five years' contract, if we don't repeat the championship once or twice, then we don't really have a great side."

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