Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said Marcus Rashford had played “fantastically well” after the striker gave Chelsea’s defence a torrid time in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.
Mourinho left top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench after Thursday’s 1-1 Europa League draw at Anderlecht, with the Swede having complained of tiredness.
Replacement Rashford made the breakthrough as United threw the title race open, and kept their own top-four hopes alive, with Ander Herrera adding the second goal.
And Mourinho told Sky Sports: “Marcus Rashford played fantastically well.
“He had a very good game at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup, exactly the same chance to score, because he is faster than their defenders.
“Today he scored and it gave the team more confidence, more stability.”
Mourinho added: “Maybe we didn’t ‘rest’ players ahead of Thursday [the Europa League second leg], we just chose the team we thought was the best team.
“We went to Stamford Bridge in the cup with same tactics, the game was totally controlled with 11 players, only the decision that made us play with 10 men for the second half and 10 minutes in the first half gave Chelsea a chance to be dominant.
“We knew that playing this way would be very difficult for them.”
The former Chelsea manager told the BBC his side had “controlled Chelsea very well” and added: “I’m happy — not because it’s Chelsea, it’s because we need these three points.
“I don’t feel extra joy at beating Chelsea. Nobody can doubt our credit to win the game.”
Rashford added: “Everyone is together and we grafted to put the work in to get the result.
“It was a clever pass from Herrera [for the opening goal] — we made eye contact and he put the ball exactly where I wanted it.”
Herrera said United had produced an “almost perfect” performance against the Premier League leaders and added: “They didn’t have any chances.”
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate