Chelsea’s official website has poked fun at Manchester United in the build-up to Monday night’s FA Cup sixth round tie at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho, the United manager, will face his former employers for the second time this season, having gone down 4-0 in west London last October.
The defeat left United, one of the pre-season favourites for the Premier League title, seven points off the pace and in seventh place.
Since that day, Mourinho’s side have embarked upon a 17-game-long unbeaten run and performances have noticeably improved, but there has been little effect on their league position.
United have sat in sixth place since their 3-1 win at Swansea City on 6 November, and the editors of Chelsea’s website chose to make note of this in their preview to Monday’s Cup tie.
“Monday’s cup opponents are enjoying a long unbeaten run in the league stretching back to October,” the article reads. “It has lifted them all the way from sixth to sixth.”
“That last defeat was, of course, the one they endured at the Bridge,” it adds. “Pedro’s 29.6 seconds opener in that 4-0 triumph remains the fastest goal in the league this season.”
Mourinho was humbled by his former club last October, with Antonio Conte’s side in the early stages of what-would-be a 13-game winning run.
The aforementioned goal by Pedro was followed by strikes from Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, in a comprehensive victory for the west Londoners.
Jose Mourinho will not know quite how much this gruelling assignment has taken out of his Manchester United players until he returns to Stamford Bridge on Monday for an FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea but it was proof of just how energy-sapping the Europa League can be.