Tottenham lost a third successive Premier League fixture as they put in a disappointing performance to slip to a 1-0 loss to London rivals, Chelsea.
Chelsea started the game by far the brighter of the two sides, with Thomas Tuchel once again opting to go with the three-at-the-back formation that has served him well in his first two games in charge.
The west London side would take the lead midway through the first half after a Cesar Azpilicueta ball in behind the Spurs backline was latched onto by Timo Werner. The Germany international was pressured by Eric Dier, and while the ball wriggled away, the England international tried to clear it while on his backside, though he ended up kicking the striker who had managed to get his foot between man and ball.
Andre Marriner duly pointed to the spot, with Jorginho stepping up and dispatching the spot-kick past Hugo Lloris.
Spurs were disappointing in the first half, and came out brighter after the break, although they still struggled to create too many opportunities, with Edouard Mendy not being forced into a save until the 78th minute when he comfortably palmed away Erik Lamela’s effort from distance.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Chelsea continued to pose a threat, with Hugo Lloris being forced into a couple of vital interventions, firstly diving in front of Christian Pulisic to punch away a Mason Mount cross while he also got down low to keep out an effort from the England international as Chelsea looked to extend their lead.
Spurs – who are without talismanic forward Harry Kane through injury – continued to look limp in attack, though their best chance would come with just three minutes to play. Serge Aurier – restored to the starting XI – whipped in a delicious ball from the right, only for Carlos Vinicius to put his header wide.
Tottenham’s xG in their last 3 Premier League games:
0.10 vs. Liverpool (1 goal)
0.37 vs. Brighton (0 goals)
0.57 vs. Chelsea (0 goals)
Struggling to create. 😤 pic.twitter.com/rzptRUPwnD
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 4, 2021
Speaking afterwards, Jose Mourinho tried to deflect from his side’s poor performance by pointing out that his side limited Chelsea to just two shots on target, while questioning the validity of the penalty.
“It was a bit of a struggle but how many chances did they have?” he said to BT Sport. “We didn’t have the ball, correct, we didn’t create in the first half, correct.
“But the struggle was the penalty. In the end, a penalty decides the game. In the end, they score a penalty which is not a penalty that you say 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.
“But in the second half we were different and Lucas [Moura] and [Erik] Lamela helped to change the dynamic. The feeling I have is that we kept together until the end. To finish with a positive spirit helps.
“Vinicius is a player with an incredible spirit but his understanding of how to press is something he’s still not comfortable with. Then in the second half it was much more difficult for them, we pressed them much better and higher and in the second half I believe we deserved a little bit more.”
The result leaves Spurs eighth in the table, seven points behind the top-four places albeit with a game in hand, their next game a home tie against Premier League strugglers, West Brom.