Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois has admitted that losing to Manchester United would signal an end to his side’s defence of the Premier League title this season.
Antonio Conte’s men have struggled to replicate their imperious form of last season, managing just two wins at home in the Premier League.
Defeat to Man United and their former boss on Sunday would see them fall seven points Jose Mourinho’s men and possibly 12 points behind leaders Manchester City.
And Courtois, speaking soon after the 3-0 defeat to Roma, noted that the clash with United was now a must-win game.
“City are nine points ahead of us, United four, Tottenham just one.” he said. “So if you want,this game is a must-win game to remain at the top and remain close to the other teams.”
“We will try to get the three points at home and we will give our lives for it on Sunday.”
Man City went to Stamford Bridge a month ago and claimed a deserved victory. They were faster and more fluid, moving the ball up the pitch with urgency and invention. Confidence was running through their veins, with Kevin de Bruyne the heartbeat.
It was a profound statement to the rest of the league; not because they won away to the champions, but because they did it in true Pep Guardiola fashion.
And Mourinho, needless to say, needs to go to Stamford Bridge – where United have only claimed one league win in 15 years – and win on his terms, in a way that Chelsea fans understand all too well. They do not need to be as ‘lively’ or as ‘impressive’ as their noisy neighbours, but rather in a way that brings their style – the defining qualities of Mourinho’s winning dynamic – to the forefront.