EPL: Cobwebs blown away, feels Manchester United boss
Boss Solskjaer happy to see Man Utd make winning return from winter break to beat Chelsea 2-0
London: Manchester United moved to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea with a smash and grab 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire on Monday. Victory lifts United up to seventh and within two points of Tottenham in fifth, which could be good enough to qualify for the Champions League next season pending Manchester City's appeal again a two-season ban from European competition.
Blues boss Frank Lampard made a bold call before kick-off by again dropping the most expensive goalkeeper in football history, Kepa Arrizabalaga, to the bench in favour of Willy Caballero. Michy Batshuayi also started with Tammy Abraham ruled out by injury and Lampard's anger at missing out on a striker in the January window was borne out by a poor night for the misfiring Belgium forward. Chelsea suffered another injury blow early on when N'Golo Kante hobbled off and the France World Cup winner is now a doubt to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted to see his team make a winning return to the Premier League after the mid-season winter break. United played their
first match in 16 days on Monday. "Well, we kept another clean sheet, that's four on the bounce now. We're getting better defensively and [we scored] two very good goals. I'm very happy with the goals. I think we were a bit leggy. Sometimes it takes time to blow the cobwebs off. The players had a week off and we trained for a week. We were better in the second half, in the legs, in the first half I thought we looked cumbersome," Solskjaer was quoted as saying by Manchester United's official website.
"There were some good individual performances, at times. I thought in the first half we were too negative, we played it back too many times; and we made technique errors that we normally don't do. But the goals were fantastic," he added. Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard told his side the "fight starts now" for a place in the Champions League next season.
The Blues had two goals disallowed by VAR reviews and were furious Maguire was not sent-off for an off-the-ball kick out at Batshuayi before he headed in United's second goal. "The fight starts now," said Lampard. "It's not worth me going on about it now but the reality was there for us to see.
"If we're not going to take chances then we're not going to win games. When you dominate large periods you have to take your chances," he added.
No. of home games Chelsea have lost this season
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