José Mourinho’s rigid thinking brings zombified display screen from Tottenham | Tottenham Hotspur

Carlos Vinícius of Tottenham

With three minutes continue to to participate in at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the score 1- to Chelsea – as it experienced been for what felt like at least a fortnight – one thing odd occurred to Carlos Vinícius. He had a chance to score a objective. Serge Aurier delivered a fantastic cross from the correct. Vinícius leapt well, wrenched his neck and created make contact with.

Spurs had woken up late in this match. Flustered, eyes continue to gummed shut, this drained and listing group of gamers had eventually produced it to the desk. A level would have been a sensational return, even versus a Chelsea staff that experienced also pale.

Instead the header from Vinícius drifted previous the article. And there was at the very least a sort of justice in this. Spurs didn’t actually ought to have it. José Mourinho, who from the start out set his tyro centre-ahead the activity of enjoying just like primary Harry Kane, definitely didn’t are worthy of it.

Oh, José. For the very first 50 percent of this weirdly gripping Leading League activity it seemed Chelsea’s players have been remaining set an sudden philosophical conundrum. In no way brain striving to acquire a match against lively opponents. How do you get rid of that which was by no means truly alive in the initial location? How do you set away a staff that comes pre-put away?

For 45 minutes Tottenham Hotspur were being a zombified matter, barely an lively participant. All through this Mourinho paced his touchline, hood draped limply about his shoulders. He appeared worried, bothered but not genuinely cross or angry – and rightly so. Anger is most effective reserved for a thing that can be corrected. These Spurs players did not just glance brief of self-confidence, they appeared like an military despatched into struggle with a baguette in 1 hand and a map etched in invisible ink in the other.

It was all the far more galling that Tottenham improved noticeably right after 50 percent-time basically by enjoying increased up the pitch, carrying out soccer-kind issues. By that issue 45 minutes of everyone’s lifetime experienced now been and absent. Football isn’t about waiting for the other individual to die of boredom, a clever guy at the time mentioned. This appeared, in these opening moments, like a workforce bored with itself.

Mourinho picked his best offered 11 below, with no departure from that meat-and-potatoes 4-2-3-1. So of course: the exact same development as each other week, but with your primary gentleman changed by a single of the minimum tested members of your squad. Is this a superior plan?

Why engage in a technique that involves funnelling the ball by the centre forward each and every time, Harry Kane-fashion, when the centre ahead is no for a longer period Harry Kane? Why check with Vinícius to do every little thing, when he’s just studying how to do the primary issue?

Carlos Vinícius endured from the expectation that he could fill Harry Kane’s boots as Chelsea defeated Tottenham. Photograph: Neil Corridor/Reuters

This was hyper-rigid stuff from Mourinho,who may well have tried using some other form to in shape his personnel, but rather basically despatched out Spurs as a slightly even worse Spurs, with 50 percent of the two-male attacking strategy absent. Early on Vinícius was despatched striding forward on the break with Son Heung-min haring off to just one facet, Steven Bergwijn the other. He pretty much fell above his ft seeking to function out what to do.

Understandably so. This is not a criticism of Vinícius, it is a criticism of Mourinho, of ossified thinking, of setting a near-extremely hard process then searching baffled when it turns out to be, you know, fairly tough.

But this is exactly where we are now with this deflating entity. From the start out Tottenham dropped quickly into that neurotically deep defensive block. They managed anything astounding early on, succeeding in becoming outnumbered equally in the centre and down the flanks at the identical time.

Ben Davies was repeatedly overrun by Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James. And Chelsea ended up awarded a penalty. Absolutely nothing about this was shocking. It came down Chelsea’s proper. It came mainly because Spurs were playing so deep each individual trade was taking position in or around their personal spot.

Timo Werner produced a fantastic run out to that aspect, and then just allowed Eric Dier to thrash around on the grass in entrance of him. For what felt like an eternity Dier waggled his legs in the air, like an upturned beetle awaking from uneasy desires to find by itself reworked into a Tottenham centre-back.

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Finally the option to slide around arrived. Werner took it. Jorginho tucked the kick absent. And by 50 %-time Spurs experienced performed an completely inert 45 minutes. For Chelsea this should have felt like dancing with a corpse.

What could Mourinho do to change this? The total-backs started out bigger up the pitch. The players ran forward a small more difficult (as in: they truly ran forward). A tiny afterwards than scheduled, a thing that seemed like a match of soccer broke out. Spurs had odds, while they may possibly also have absent additional guiding. In the end they obtained what they deserved: no goals, no attacking strategy, and only that late trapped electrical power to prove there was life below at all.

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