Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho criticised referee Andre Marriner’s performance after his side lost at home to Chelsea, who continued their unbeaten start under new boss Thomas Tuchel and moved into the Premier League’s top six. Jorginho’s first-half penalty, awarded after Eric Dier clumsily upended Timo Werner, gave the Blues a win their more progressive approach deserved against a Spurs side devoid of ideas and ambition until it was too late.
But Mourinho, who talked to Marriner at length as they walked off the pitch on Thursday, said: “I consider him one of the best referees in the Premier League. I care for him and one I have big admiration for him. That gives me a good position to tell him I did not like his performance. “In the end a penalty decides the game. In the end they score a penalty which is not a penalty where you say it is a dangerous situation, one on one, almost scoring.
“It’s a penalty that is difficult to accept and to lose the game like this is a bit painful. “Tuchel has now enjoyed two wins and a draw, without conceding a goal, since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard, and while the animated German occasionally displayed signs of frustration in his technical area, this was ultimately a satisfying outcome.
“The whole first half we totally controlled the game,” said Tuchel. “Maybe we lost confidence in the second half because we lost the ball possession. “A bit more killer instinct and more aggression in the box would have been nice. It was a big win in an away game and I am very happy.” In contrast, it was a third successive defeat in a dismal sequence for Tottenham and Mourinho, as they were punished for a desperately negative game-plan which, shorn of main marksman Harry Kane, barely gave Chelsea an anxious moment until Carlos Vinicius headed Serge Aurier’s cross wide at the far post when unmarked late on.
Tuchel has wasted no time in laying down his demands to Chelsea’s players and his presence on the touchline certainly galvanizes them into action. He was on the move throughout this win, constantly expressing pleasure and discontent, on one occasion shouting “yes” and applauding his side vigorously after bellowing “go, go” to order Chelsea to pressurize Spurs.
It is early days but Tuchel has got Chelsea playing at a faster pace and the right-sided combination of Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi is clearly something he feels has promise. In reality, this was a relatively comfortable night for the Blues, despite losing the experienced Thiago Silva with a hamstring injury in the first half.
Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy was barely troubled, apart from a diving save from Erik Lamela, while Mason Mount’s driving runs and energy from midfield were sure to have impressed his new manager. Werner is still struggling for a break, but he won the crucial penalty and never stopped running despite not always enjoying the best of fortune. All in all, this was a pleasing night for Tuchel and his new charges.
Negative Spurs deserved nothing
Spurs manager Mourinho will no doubt point to that bad late miss by Vinicius as a moment when they might have snatched a point – but, in reality, they got what their approach merited: nothing. Mourhino’s side looked desperately short of threat without the injured Kane, with even Son Heung-min struggling as he received little support or service. In a bewildering first-half display, Spurs at times almost seemed unwilling to leave their own half, instantly handing the initiative to Chelsea. It was an invitation the visitors were only too happy to accept.
Tottenham, as they had to do, showed more positive intent after the break, but it was hardly a wave of attacks and, when he did make changes, it was significant Mourinho turned to Lamela and Lucas Moura rather than Gareth Bale, who was left unused. Kane’s absence would strip any team of an edge of menace but it was also Mourinho’s no-risk strategy that let Tuchel’s side benefit for most of the game. Late rally aside, particularly Vinicius’ miss, this was a grim evening for Spurs their manager.
- Mourinho lost back-to-back home league matches for the first time in his 327th such game.
- Tuchel became the first Chelsea manager to keep clean sheets in his first three matches in charge since Mourinho in August 2004.
- Tottenham have suffered three successive Premier League defeats for the first time since November 2012.
- Chelsea have seven points from Tuchel’s three matches – as many as they managed in Lampard’s final eight.
- Spurs have lost four of their past five league games when Kane has not played.
- Mourinho has not won any of his past seven games against former club Chelsea – his joint-longest wingless run against an opponent in his managerial career (also against Barcelona between April 2011 and January 2012 when he was Real Madrid boss).
- Jorginho’s opener for Chelsea was his 10th Premier League goal, eight of which have been penalties.
- Alongside Jamie Vardy, Anthony Martial and Patrick Bamford, Chelsea striker Werner has won the joint-most Premier League penalties this season (three each).
Tottenham manager Mourinho told BBC Sport: “We had a great chance by Vinicius. We can analyse the game from the first to the last minute. If you want to be pragmatic – one penalty, one goal, 1-0. “When a team is in a difficult game against Chelsea, you concede that penalty and are affected by it. By the end of the the first half I saw a team that was struggling, but it was totally the opposite in the second half. “We miss a lot of important players but the spirit in the second half is untouchable.
“We don’t like it [the form] but the way we finished the game gives me positive feelings. It is not that that stops the defensive mistakes but it gives us a difficult smile on the face, to stick together and go tomorrow. “Hopefully, next week, Harry Kane will be back, but not any of the others. We play Sunday against West Brom and they need points as much as us for different reasons.”
Chelsea boss Tuchel said: “We are super happy about the result. It was a tough game against a strong opponent but we did very well and controlled the game well. “It was a good first half. In the second half, we lost more of the possession and the distances in the passing were too long.
“If you play against a quality team you have to accept there are moments you have to suffer. We defended very actively and brave. We were looking for a second goal desperately as that would have killed the game. “I’m happy with the spirit and the attitude in defending. A very solid team performance and a deserved win. “It’s not about my methods. I’m happy with the attitude, the squad, the potential. They are fine guys – it’s a nice group and they are open. It’s a pleasure to be around them. We have a lot of support in the whole club. It was a quick start but an easy one because I feel very welcome.”
On Silva going off injured: “I saw Thiago with a big strap around his muscle, but we have to wait. It’s worrying because it’s a muscle injury.”
Tottenham host West Bromwich Albion in the league on Sunday (12:00 GMT), before Chelsea play at Sheffield United later on the same day (19:15).