Man United 0 Chelsea 1: Rafael Benítez hails ‘intelligent’ Juan Mata

Man United 0 Chelsea 1: Rafael Benítez reserves special praise for Juan Mata after the playmaker's late deflected goal won it for Blues

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Rafael Benítez reserved special praise for Juan Mata after the playmaker’s late deflected goal earned Chelsea victory at Manchester United.

The Spaniard saw his shot in the 87th minute deflect off Phil Jones and creep past Anders Lindegaard, before Rafael Da Silva was sent off for kicking out at David Luiz.

The victory hoists the Blues up into third place in the table and Benítez hailed the Spain international for his game-changing ability.

“Juan Mata is a great player and has the intelligence and ability to change the game,” the Chelsea interim boss told BBC Sport.

Chelsea host Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday knowing that a victory will all but secure their place in next season’s Champions League.

And Benítez was pleased to see his side seal a vital victory at Old Trafford.

“It’s an important win,” he continued. “We knew we needed to win a couple of games and this is the first one.

“If we can beat Tottenham on Wednesday, we will be in the top four with two games left to play.

“The tempo of the game was not too high. You can understand Manchester United relaxing as they’ve won the title.

“We created the better chances, they had one or two but we had more and the control of the game.”

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