Ander Herrera Reveals What He Told Jose Mourinho Before Man-Marking Eden Hazard
Herrera set up one and scored the other in a 2-0 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford but his most impressive contribution in the game was completely nullifying the threat of Eden Hazard.
The Belgian, comfortably Chelsea's best player and one of the best in the league, was completely anonymous throughout thanks to a perfect man-marking job from Herrera.
In the previous fixture, Herrera was harshly sent off in a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge but he more than made amends with this imperious display.
He kept touch-tight to Chelsea's talisman and even promised Jose Mourinho he'd follow him to the bathroom if necessary.
Herrera told The Athletic: "Jose and I both knew Hazard was the best player, by far, in the Premier League at the time, so if we wanted to win that game, we needed him not to touch the ball, or at least as little as possible.
"That's what we agreed. I said, 'Jose, I am ready if you need me to man-mark him, to follow him everywhere. If he wants to go to the bathroom, I will go with him because I want to win the game'.
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"The most important thing in football is that my team wins, because then I go to sleep happy. It does not matter what you have to do, as long as you respect the rules and don't do anything illegal."
It really was a carbon copy of when Ji-Sung Park completely pocketed the legendary Andrea Pirlo, who made just 21 passes in the game at Old Trafford and referred to the South Korean as a "guard dog" in his autobiography.
Herrera, with his work-rate and tactical flexibility, was the ideal player deployed to do a job on Hazard by Mourinho. The Spaniard, now at PSG, enjoyed his time with 'the Special One' but admitted he does not take defeats well at all.
"Mourinho is the best manager in the world when things go well," he added.
"The relationship with the players, the way he treats everyone; I really liked his training sessions. Also, with (long-time assistant) Rui Faria, they were a fantastic team together.
"But it is also true, when he loses, he does not take it in a good way. That is true. And he accepts that! He does not hide from it. We have a great relationship. The first year was fantastic, we won three titles. The second year, we won 84 points in the Premier League and came second.
"We lost the FA Cup final but we played much better than Chelsea (that day), if you remember that game."