Blues, Spurs heading in opposite directions

LONDON • A little over a week since Thomas Tuchel was named as Chelsea’s new manager, the German delivered a statement against Tottenham on Thursday with a display that augurs well for the rest of the Premier League season.

A goal-less draw with Wolves and a victory over Burnley represented a solid enough start to one of the most demanding jobs in European football.

But beating their London rivals and a Spurs side managed by Jose Mourinho 1-0 away will have won over many sceptical Chelsea fans.

After a dreadful run of two wins in eight games which cost club great Frank Lampard his job last month, Chelsea are suddenly oozing confidence across the pitch.

They completely outplayed Spurs for 75 minutes and the only worry for Tuchel was that they did not manage to add to the penalty dispatched by Jorginho midway through the first half.

Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi caused havoc, Timo Werner looked dangerous up front and Mason Mount, given a new role as a false nine, showed the kind of tactical flexibility the former Paris Saint-Germain coach loves.

Chelsea have risen to sixth in the league, four points behind champions and -placed Liverpool (40) and a top-four finish is once again looking within their grasp.

On top of that, Tuchel has become the first Blues boss to keep clean sheets in his first three top-flight games in charge since Mourinho did the same when arriving in 2004, although he has modestly played down his impact, preferring to heap praise on his players.

“We are super happy about the result,” Tuchel, who cut an animated figure on the touchline in the rain, said. “It’s not about my methods. I’m happy with the attitude, the squad, the potential.

“It was a quick start but an easy one because I feel very welcome.”

Tuchel’s main concern was a lack of “killer instinct” from his side, who almost let Spurs back in the closing stages, with Werner’s drought now extending to one goal in his last 18 games.​

  • 3 Tottenham have suffered three successive Premier League defeats for the first time since November 2012 under Andre Villas-Boas.

But it would have been an injustice had Chelsea not taken three points as the visitors were the ones who showed initiative.

While the Blues are ascending, Spurs are fast descending, having won twice in their last 10 league games to drop to eighth spot, seven points adrift of the Reds.

Mourinho, who suffered successive home league defeats for the first time and whose side failed to score for a second straight game, sought to pin the loss on the injured Harry Kane. The Portuguese said: “You know what (his absence) means for the confidence of the players.”

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