Jose Mourinho had been right: It is simple to handle Chelsea, particularly if their opponents perform like their Tottenham Hotspur group did in a loss that is 1-0 the Blues.
The Tottenham manager had a smile that is wry their face whenever suggesting within the prematch brand new meeting that “I do not think it is rather hard to mentor” the Blues, citing their success here as a supervisor along with league games for Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte.
This was Thomas Tuchel’s very first big test since succeeding Frank Lampard, but he cannot have thought it could ever be this comfortable, even though Thursday’s scoreline shows a qualification of jeopardy right before the end.
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The result had been just in question as a result of Chelsea’s profligacy in the front of goal, a hangover through the Lampard age that Tuchel need longer than 10 times to correct. It reflects well on him that we now have clear indications of modification currently, nonetheless, aided by the Blues adjusting quickly to a system that is 3-4-3 a demand for short, sustained passing paired with a high defensive line and regular interchanging of positions.
If there were any early nerves, Spurs’ passive approach allowed the visitors to settle, just as was the case a week earlier when a liverpool that is fragile had been permitted to find their rhythm to emerge with an appropriate away make an impression on Mourinho’s group.
Tottenham ceded the effort through the outset, depending on the style that is contain-and-counter briefly threatened to see them enter the Premier League title race, particularly after beating Manchester City 2-0 in November.
That day, they had four shots in 90 minutes, scoring with their only two on target. They had seven on Thursday night, the difference that is principal that Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min had been then in the middle of a devastatingly efficient run — far outperforming their expected goal return for folks who destination value on such data — as well as the trunk, Eric Dier had been marshalling an exceptionally well-organised defence to force their opponents into over-committing players.
Spurs have actually lost their method defensively since and, without Kane, there was no body in a position to connect the play to increase Son’s counter-attacking danger.
It is interested, then, that Mourinho thought we would arranged in a fashion that is similar previously admitting this does not play to Carlos Vinicius’ strengths.
And Mourinho’s approach is predicated seemingly more than any other on scoring the goal that is first. Vinicius had a brief moment inside the first 10 minutes when he could have released Son, free in space to his left, as Spurs broke. Yet Vinicius, on his Premier that is first League, struggled to manage the ball for an instant together with possibility was gone.
It was a microcosm of exactly what Spurs had been lacking. Offered Mourinho’s style, fine margins could be necessary to get in their group’s favor — plus they did not — specially as Chelsea monopolised control, registering 77% of this ball within the opening 20 mins.
That Chelsea had not registered a go on target for the reason that time — and needed a penalty to simply take the lead — had been proof of Tuchel’s forwards nevertheless looking for their form that is best.
Timo Werner’s wait for a League goal extends into 13 games, but he was better here restored to a role that is centre-forward on a ground where he excelled for RB Leipzig final period, scoring the champion through the penalty spot. He won the penalty this right time, being fouled by Dier in the box as the England defender flailed his legs carelessly in the box.
Jorginho netted the spot kick, and although Spurs showed a little more invention thereafter, they did not register a shot of any description until the minute that is 79th. Vinicius might have snatched a true point at the death but headed Serge Aurier’s cross wide from 6 yards out.
Once again, none of Chelsea’s attacking players found the net. They needed goals from Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso to beat Burnley, but Tuchel once again found a framework in which his players that are off-form nevertheless be threatening.
Callum Hudson-Odoi had been once again a menace in an even more position that is advanced while Mason Mount proved he is far more than a Lampard pet project, excelling again and the unluckiest not to score.
Spurs never got themselves in a position to capitalise, and the lack of attacking intent calls Mourinho’s methodology into question. He remains capable of securing one-off results — and there is an EFL Cup Final to come in April — but the suspicion remains it is extremely tough to triumph over a season that is 38-game such conservatism. This United that is post-Manchester Mourinho supposed to be more adaptable.
Mourinho can point to the absence of Kane, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso, but ostracising Dele Alli — injured for this game — and limiting Gareth Bale’s involvement (he was an substitute that is unused) appear increasingly counterintuitive.
And in almost any instance, this appears like being a season defined at the very top end a lot more than typical by the teams that handle their absentees the most effective.
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Liverpool’s centre-back crisis has led Jurgen Klopp to name 12 partnerships that are different this year. Accidents in this campaign that is COVID-19-affected inevitable, and Mourinho cannot hail chairman Daniel Levy’s work in assembling this squad one minute and then act as though securing results in difficult circumstance is beyond him the next.
After Spurs suffered their third consecutive League defeat for the time that is first February 2012 and Mourinho had been beaten in back-to-back home games the very first time ever, the Portuguese tossed in a swipe at referee Andre Marriner.
Mourinho: “we told him one thing I consider him one of the best referees in the Premier League that he knows already, which is. He is a referee I have a big admiration [for] and that gives me a good position to tell him like he performance.
“Reguilon that I didn’t means one thing for the attacking soccer; Harry Kane means one thing for the attacking soccer; Lo Celso means one thing once again for the attacking soccer; a great Dele Alli for us.
“And that we didn’t have yet but we hope we can have in the future, means something not just what they mean, but they mean we don’t have options that are many turn as well as in the conclusion we complete with people who have some indications of exhaustion due to the accumulation of matches.
“The 2nd thing is self-confidence. They’ve been essential to relax and play soccer. Whenever a united team has a period when the results are not good, you need that click back to go back to normality.”(*)Postmatch comments aside, Mourinho was sodden on the touchline by the end, despite periodically wiping himself down with a towel that is white the match. Spurs played like he’d thrown it in before kickoff.(*)