With six games remaining, the result will give Tottenham belief that they can lift the trophy at the end of May.
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte was under no illusions as to how important each of those games will be.
“We have to think that there are six finals from now until the end,” Conte said.
He added: “The league is open and we have a 50 percent (chance) to win the league.”
But Chelsea do have a more favourable run-in than Tottenham. The only top-six side the Blues have to face is Everton, while Tottenham will take on both Arsenal and Manchester United.
However, the signs against the Red Devils weren’t good for Chelsea. The Blue have been used to dominating games and creating numerous chances in the vast majority of matches this season.
But Chelsea failed to have a shot on target in a Premier League game for the first time since September 2007, which also came against United at Old Trafford.
Additionally, their one shot in the first half was the lowest they had mustered in a first 45 minutes this season.
Conte admitted United showed more determination in the match, but he also blamed himself for the defeat.
“They showed more desire, more ambition, more motivation,” said Conte.
“It is very simple but in this case the fault is of the coach. It means the coach was not able to transfer the right concentration, desire, ambition to win this game.”
“To play this type of game from now and until the end, we must have great enthusiasm, great motivation to try to reach the target.”
The three points took them into fifth spot, four points behind fourth-placed City. However, the Red Devils still have seven matches to play. Only Arsenal have more games left (eight).
The victory ended an eight-match winless run against Chelsea, which was their longest streak without a win against a single opponent.
It also extended the Red Devils’ unbeaten streak to 22 games, which was the longest unbeaten run in a single season by a team since United did it in 2010-11.
The importance of the win wasn’t lost on former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho.
“With Liverpool and Manchester City victories, if we don’t win then goodbye Premier League,” Mourinho said.
Perhaps even more pleasing for Mourinho was seeing his attackers take their chances; especially without Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the line up.
Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera’s goals were scored with United’s first shots on target against the Blues.
“The result means we keep two windows open to play Champions League football,” said Mourinho.
“I can’t give up on the Premier League yet. We have to try. If one day we are in the Europa League and the distance in the Premier League is too big, then we have to prioritise and nobody can criticise us if we do things in a different way for the final few matches.
“But while it is mathematically possible we have to go with everything we have.”
Remaining six fixtures: Southampton (H); April 30 Everton (A); May 6 Middlesbrough (H); May 13 West Bromwich Albion (A); May 15 Watford (H); May 21 Sunderland (H)
Remaining six fixtures: Crystal Palace (a), Arsenal (h), West Ham (a), Manchester United (h), Leicester (a), Hull (a).
Tottenham’s 4-0 victory over Bournemouth sees them four points adrift of Chelsea, but with a superior goal difference.
The Blues’ next clash against Everton and Spurs’ matches with Arsenal and then Manchester United loom as potentially title-defining games.
CURRENT QUALIFIERS: Chelsea (75 points), Tottenham (71 points), Liverpool (66), Manchester City (64)
EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP STAGE = FA Cup winner (one of Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham or Chelsea) or fifth place if already in UCL.
Liverpool and Manchester City’s victories have given them a six and four-point buffer (respectively) above United in fifth place, but they are still nine and 11 points shy of leaders Chelsea.
At the moment, it seems a gap too big to pull back with the Reds and City only having fives and six games to play.
Liverpool don’t have to play any of the top six sides, while City face United next, whose entry to the Champions League still looks more likely via the Europa League.
The Red Devils will play Arsenal and Tottenham as well as City, while sixth-placed Everton will take on Chelsea and Arsenal in their remaining five fixtures.
Arsenal still have an opportunity to finish in the top four with eight matches left to play, but have to take on Tottenham, United and Everton.
Liverpool’s remaining five fixtures: Crystal Palace (h), Watford (a), Southampton (h), West Ham (a), Middlesbrough (h)
Manchester City’s remaining six fixtures: Manchester United (h), Middlesbrough (a), Crystal Palace (h), Leicester (h), West Brom (h), Watford (a).
Manchester United’s remaining seven fixtures: Burnley (a); Manchester City (a), Swansea City (h); Arsenal (a); Tottenham Hotspur (a); Southampton (a); Crystal Palace (h).
Everton’s remaining five fixtures: West Ham (a), Chelsea (h), Swansea (a), Watford (h), Arsenal (a).
Arsenal’s remaining eight fixtures: Middlesbrough (a); Sunderland (h); Leicester City (h); Tottenham Hotspur (a); Manchester United (h); Southampton (a); Stoke City (a); Everton (h).