DEFENSIVE DUO ON BIG WIN

Two of the defenders responsible for nullifying Manchester United's attacking threat in our 3-1 win against the champions have been reflecting on another important victory, our fifth consecutive Barclays Premier League triumph.

The inclusion of Branislav Ivanovic in the starting line-up was a big surprise, particularly after Jose Mourinho had indicated ahead of the game he wouldn't feature.

The Serbian defender hasn't been involved since limping out of last month's 2-1 win over Liverpool, but returned to the side and played a significant role in containing the dangerous Adnan Januzaj.

'It was a very important game and a very hard game,' he said. 'We played really well in the first half and I think we controlled the match. It's massive for the confidence and a massive three points.

'It's important to be on top of our game, we played well and we deserved the three points.'

The victory ensured Mourinho became the quickest manager in Premier League history to achieve 100 wins for one club, and Ivanovic paid tribute to the Portuguese.

Asked what makes the Blues boss special, he said: 'A lot of things, he's the perfect one. He's the guy who gives us a lot of confidence and we're improving game by game.

'For us, as players, it's very important to stay at that level and prove to him every day that we can do better and better.'

Gary Cahill, meanwhile, who was equally impressive for the Blues, praised the clinical finishing of Samuel Eto'o, after the striker became only the third player in our history to score a hat-trick against United.

'His goals today were great,' said the defender. 'The manager said at half-time we weren't playing particularly well but nevertheless we were 2-0 up.

'Samuel got his chances and he took them so it was great for us and great for him. At 3-0 it was difficult for them to come back into the game, they got the goal late and it was a bit nervy but we managed to see it through and it was a huge win for us.'

The 28-year-old was on the receiving end of a nasty challenge late in the game from Rafael Da Silva, with many feeling the United defender should have been sent off after he appeared to have jumped in two-footed.

Cahill, who was understandably unhappy with the tackle, was simply pleased to have come away unscathed.

'I didn't get hurt and it's gone now, I've got no problems if he tackles me as hard as he wants as long as it's fair,' he said. 'I do feel he lunged in two-footed, I don't know why but thankfully I rode it and I didn't get injured.'

The Blues take a break from Premier League action next weekend due to FA Cup commitments, with a home game against West Ham United up next, followed by a trip to Manchester City in a fortnight.

'The lads are feeling confident, we're going about our business quietly and we're churning out results at this moment in time so we hope that continues,' Cahill said. 'There's a good feeling among the squad, everybody's fit now near enough and it's going well.

'We're there, we're in and around. Arsenal and Man City aren't dropping points at the moment so we need to be within touching distance. We are, and we're happy with how it's going.'