Eto'o reads Man United's 'last rites' in EPL
Samuel Eto’o scored a hat-trick which buried Man United's chances of defending their EPL title.
LONDON - A Samuel Eto'o hat-trick lifted Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday which all but ended the champions' slim hopes of defending their Premier League title.
Two first-half goals and one soon after the restart by Eto'o took Chelsea up to third place with 49 points, two behind leaders Arsenal, and United remained in seventh place, 14 off the summit.
United defender Nemanja Vidic was sent off in stoppage time to complete a miserable day for David Moyes's team.
"I think it is a big win and deserved, yes," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told Sky Sport.
"The way I was analysing the game it was hard for them to be losing 2-0 at halftime. They started better than us, they had a good initiative.
"The second half was different. For 25-30 minutes we had very good control until we dropped back and they reacted with pride.
United, and young attacker Adnan Januzaj in particular, started brightly but were undone by two poor pieces of defending that allowed Cameroonian Eto'o to score his first goals against United since the 2009 Champions League final when he was playing for Barcelona.
United failed to clear a corner and defender Gary Cahill picked out Eto'o unmarked in the box.
Substitute Javier Hernandez pulled one goal back for United with 12 minutes remaining, but Chelsea were placed under little pressure during a meek second-half performance, and United's misery was compounded when Vidic was given a straight red for a rough tackle on Hazard.
"We did not deserve to be 2-0 down at halftime," Moyes said.
"We had a little bit of bad luck with the first one but we can't blame anyone else but ourselves for the other two. We did not defend well enough and did not get a chance like Chelsea got to score, so we can only blame ourselves for that."
Meanwhile, Chelsea coach praised his hat-trick hero Eto'o, whose three goals buried United and gave himself some credit too for unexpectedly selecting the Cameroon striker.
"Of course I love it when one of my players becomes a special player in the match," Mourinho told reporters after Chelsea's 3-1 win left the London side just two points behind leaders Arsenal and United 14 points adrift of the top spot.
"It's a fantastic moment for Samuel. He scored a hat-trick and against Manchester United."
It was the first hat-trick from the 32-year-old since he moved to England last year from Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala where he was the world's highest paid player, according to media reports.
The Portuguese coach, who recorded his 100th Premier League win, said he selected Eto'o over Torres, who scored in both of Chelsea's previous two league games, because he felt the Cameroonian was more suited to the kind of tight game that United would play.
"I thought Samuel is a player with more technical ability, better in small spaces," Mourinho said.
Tottenham Hotspur secured a fifth successive away league victory and moved up to fifth place after Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice in a 3-1 win at Swansea City.
Spurs are level on 43 points with Liverpool, although Everton could overtake them both with victory over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
Defeat prolonged a dire run for Michael Laudrup's Swansea who have failed to win in eight league matches dating back to early December.
Adebayor has five league goals since being recalled to the team by manager Tim Sherwood, who replaced Andre Villas-Boas last month.