LONDON- Samuel Eto’o toppled Manchester United with his first Chelsea hat-trick, leaving manager Jose Mourinho to claim the champions cannot expect to defend the title from so far adrift.
Eto’o scored three times in 32 minutes at Stamford Bridge before Javier Hernandez pulled back a late goal for United, who finished the game with 10 men after Nemanja Vidic was dismissed late on.
David Moyes’s side are now 14 points behind leaders Arsenal, 13 behind Manchester City and 12 points off Chelsea.
‘I don’t think David will be upset if I say the reality,’ said Mourinho.
‘It is a 14-point difference, and 13 and 12. Can they recover to one of these teams? They can. But to three of them? It needs three teams to almost collapse.’
Moyes promised that United would refuse to surrender the title. He confessed he had hoped to be better placed at this stage of his debut Old Trafford season but rejected the notion of a crisis.
‘That’s your word, not mine,’ he said. ‘What we won’t do is throw in the towel until we can’t get there. The job is to try to finish first. I was hoping to win more and be competing a bit more than we’ve been but that will come.’
Moyes did not complain about Vidic’s red card, for a crude challenge on Eden Hazard, and Danny Welbeck’s claim for a penalty in the first half, after a tackle by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager David Moyes refuses to give up on retaining the Premier League title, despite falling 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.
Moyes, whose side remain seventh in the table, said: “What we don’t do is throw the towel in until we can’t get there. The job is to finish first and we’ll try to do that.”
The defeat also extended Moyes’s wait for an away win against the ‘big four’ teams in the top flight. In 48 away matches at United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal - encompassing his time as Everton and United boss - he has drawn 18 and lost 30.