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Wayne Rooney took consolation in defeat after Manchester United's performance in the 1-0 loss at Chelsea, claiming he's never seen the Blues dominated so badly.
Injury-depleted United slipped to defeat despite enjoying the better of much of the play against the Premier League leaders, who are now 11 points clear of the third-placed Red Devils.
Yet the visitors' performance at Stamford Bridge on Saturday has given Rooney and Van Gaal cause for optimism.
We can take great confidence from this result as I've rarely seen a team come to Stamford Bridge and dominate so much, all that was missing was a goal.
On another day we could have scored two or three goals, but it wasn't to be. We have to move on now and look forward to facing Everton next weekend.
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Eden Hazard was thrilled to rise to the occasion and live up to his pre-match billing as Chelsea's match-winner against Manchester United.
The Belgium playmaker's first-half goal - his 18th of the season - earned the Blues a 1-0 win which took Jose Mourinho's men 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League and within reach of the title.
Hazard told Chelsea TV:
Every game I try to do one good moment. This is my job. I like my job. I try to give pleasure to the fans when they come to the stadium. I did very well.
It's very difficult, but in one moment you need something special with a special player like me, or Oscar, Didier (Drogba), Willian. This is why we play football, to play this kind of game and to score against this kind of team.
Morgan Schneiderlin says Southampton are refusing to give up on their Champions League aspirations despite Saturday's damaging defeat at Stoke.
Saints missed the chance to close the gap on fourth-placed Manchester City to two points as they went down to a 2-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
Schneiderlin opened the scoring with his first Barclays Premier League goal since September, but a mistake from Saints goalkeeper Kelvin Davis allowed Mame Diouf to equalise and substitute Charlie Adam stole all three points with six minutes to go.
Schneiderlin accepts the Europa League is a more realistic goal for Southampton now, but he insists the players still have faint hopes of qualifying for the premier club competition in Europe.
"We wanted to achieve the top four and now it's going to be even more complicated but we're not going to give up," the midfielder told Southampton's website.
"We wanted to give the fans the most prestigious competition but if not, we want to give them the Europa League. We want to secure European football for this club, that's our main target."