Mourinho fumes as Man Utd leave it late against Chelsea
Last-gasp United earn a point at the death, as Chelsea boss is forced to bite his tongue
Manchester United 1 Chelsea 1.Two goals, one red card and nine yellows, there was certainly no lack of drama at Old Trafford on Sunday despite a scoreline that suited neither club. The draw leaves Chelsea four points clear of Southampton at the top of the table while Manchester United lie eighth, ten points behind the Blues.
But the fact they came away with a point against the league leaders and title favourites was reason enough to be cheerful for the Old Trafford faithful. Didier Drogba's header on 53 minutes – the Ivorian's first Premier League goal since March 2012 – looked to have secured another victory for Jose Mourinho's men. But then came a frantic end to the clash that evoked memories of the Alex Ferguson era when the visit of Chelsea was always cause for confrontation.
As the clock ticked into stoppage time, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Angel di Maria. It was the visitors' seventh of the match and it allowed Di Maria to whip in a free kick from the left that Marouane Fellaini nearly converted. Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois parried his fierce header but Robin van Persie was on hand to lash home the rebound and send the Old Trafford fans wild. Mourinho also went wild, though in the Chelsea manager's case it wasn't with joy.
"The red card, I saw that coming," he fumed later, bristling with a sense of injustice at what he had witnessed. "If I have to speak about [the dismissal] I have to speak about the penalty Ivanovic should have been given."
Mourinho made a great show of reining himself in, and explained to reporters he had to be careful for fear of infuriating the Football Association. "If I want to speak I will speak too much," he declared. "You know I will speak with my heart and get into trouble."
As it is Chelsea could be slapped with a fine of £25,000 for collecting more than six yellow cards in a game, while United were hardly paragons of virtue with three bookings of their own. It means, too, that Louis van Gaal's side still have only three league wins to their credit and must now take their fragile form to Manchester City next week. Nonetheless, Van Gaal was upbeat following the draw, declaring: "We kept together and I think we deserved [the draw]. I have seen that we could have beat Chelsea, I'm saying that nearly every game but this is against Chelsea who are a top team and we were at least equal."
It is perhaps a sign of how far United's ambitions have lowered in the last year and a half that Van Persie admitted they could "be happy with the draw". Asked if he believed they could overhaul Chelsea before the end of the season, the Dutchman replied: "Of course we can, it's still a long way. It's not even half way."
Mourinho also had questions to answer, namely who did he regard as Chelsea's biggest rivals in the title race? "We don't look to others," he retorted. "We look to ourselves."