Sunday 05 May 2013
Rafael Benitez called Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford "massive" as it returned his side to third place in Barclays Premier League.
Juan Mata's shot was deflected in by United defender Phil Jones three minutes from time for the only goal of the match to give Chelsea an advantage over Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in the race for the qualifying places for the UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea can effectively secure a top-four spot with victory over Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, having a vastly superior goal difference to Andre Villas-Boas’s team.
"It is massive for us,” Benitez said of the win. “We knew that we have to get six or seven points to guarantee the top four and we have got three points here. Now we play against Tottenham and we are in the driving seat."
Eden Hazard missed the match with a calf injury and Benitez confirmed the player will be assessed for the Spurs match.
For United things became worse in the final minute when Rafael Da Silva as sent off for retaliating against David Luiz. It was United’s first red card of the season.
In the day’s other match, Everton’s hopes of European football next season were all but ended by a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby at Anfield. While the point means Everton will almost certainly finish above Liverpool, Moyes was not taking pleasure from that. Moyes said he saw no consolation in the fact that Everton will still get one over their local rivals.
"The only thing that does matter for us is the European picture, because we are trying to get back among the bigger boys and play on that stage as regularly as we can," he said. "I don't take comfort in finishing above Liverpool. For me, it is about qualifying for Europe. That would be my main objective and that hasn't changed."
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Liverpool 0-0 Everton | #LIVEVE | Matchday Live >>
Manchester United 0-1 Chelsea | #MUNCHE | Matchday Live >>