Revived under Tuchel, Chelsea hands Spurs 3rd straight loss

LONDON (AP) — A Chelsea victory that extended the team’s revival under Thomas Tuchel left Tottenham experiencing new lows under Jose Mourinho.

Not since 2012 has Tottenham endured three consecutive Premier League losses. Never before in his managerial career has Mourinho lost back-to-back home league games.

Being top of the league two months ago is becoming a distant memory for Tottenham after losing 1-0 to Mourinho’s former side on Thursday.

Tottenham’s poor form was punctuated by the way Eric Dier recklessly tripped Timo Werner to concede the penalty, which Jorginho converted in the 24th minute.

Now it’s Chelsea on the up again since Frank Lampard was fired 10 days ago, with two wins and a draw under Tuchel moving moving the London club up to sixth, four points from Liverpool in fourth place.

While only a single goal separated the sides, Chelsea controlled the game and avoided being unsettled by defender Thiago Silva limping off in the first half.

“It is the style the manager wants us to play and it has been working well,” said Mason Mount, who was so often the impetus of Chelsea’s attacking threat. “It is new, it is different for some of us players. We are all learning but it is obviously going well so far.

“It makes it difficult for any team we play against they don’t know what we are going to be coming with. I have been playing a bit deeper so being up in the box a little bit more I need to work on my finishing.”

While Chelsea’s pursuit of the Champions League places was given a lift, Tottenham is slipping away from the top four in a disappointing second season in charge for Mourinho.

Tottenham is seven points from fourth in eighth place having played a game less, and is sorely missing the injured Harry Kane, who could return from ankle injuries next week. Tottenham was also beaten at its stadium last Thursday by Liverpool, before collapsing at Brighton.

Perhaps the only relief for Mourinho is that supporters remain shut out of the stadium due to the pandemic so could not vent their irritation at the slump.

Mourinho, though, wasn’t so pessimistic.

“In the second half we were different, the spirit was different, the confidence too,” Mourinho said. “At the end the feeling that I have is that the team stuck together until the end, fought until the end … and to finish the game with this positive spirit helps.”

Still, the situation at Spurs seems miles away from the glory days of Mourinho’s two spells at Chelsea when he lifted the Premier League trophy three times and turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress.

Given the team’s current slump, Mourinho will be hoping Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is more patient than Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

It was Abramovich’s restlessness that saw Mourinho fired twice, part of a managerial carousel at Chelsea that also led to Frank Lampard being dismissed last month.

Chelsea had been leaking goals under Lampard but has yet to concede in three games under Tuchel.

“Every experience we make is a step forward if we are open to learn from it,” Tuchel said.

Tottenham’s toothless performance also raised questions as to why winger Gareth Bale was left on the bench. However, Mourinho wouldn’t say why Bale — back on loan at Tottenham from Real Madrid — is overlooked so often.

Mourinho was more vocal criticizing a penalty that seemed an obvious one given away by Dier.

“It is a penalty that is difficult to accept,” Mourinho said. “So to lose the game to a penalty like this is a bit painful.”

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