December 22, 2019 / 8:47 PM / a month ago

Tough day for Mourinho as he admits Chelsea were superior

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho admitted that his old club Chelsea were superior as his side’s revival came to a shuddering halt in a dispiriting 2-0 Premier League derby defeat on Sunday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - December 22, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho looks on REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

The Portuguese has suffered two defeats in the six league games he has been in charge of Spurs since replacing Mauricio Pochettino — and both have come against former clubs.

Manchester United were the first to blot his copybook with a 2-1 win earlier this month at Old Trafford, but this home defeat by Chelsea, the club he led to three Premier League titles, was much more worrying, underlining the task he has taken on.

Mourinho had never lost a home match against a previous club in any competition, winning 12 and drawing one, but his former midfielder Frank Lampard totally outwitted his old mentor in the coaching stakes as his Chelsea side dominated throughout.

Tottenham could have leapfrogged their London rivals into fourth with a win, but they self-destructed with a pitiful display.

Mourinho’s central midfield of Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko was overrun, right back Serge Aurier was badly exposed for Willian’s 12th minute opener and his forward line was toothless with Harry Kane barely having a shot.

Keeper Paulo Gazzaniga’s rush of blood gifted Chelsea a penalty just before halftime from which Willian made it 2-0.

Then, Son Heung-min’s red card for an equally daft loss of composure when he kicked out in retaliation against Antonio Rudiger meant Tottenham played the last 30 minutes with 10 men.

It left Tottenham seventh, six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, and a quick response is required if the optimism of Mourinho’s start is not to vanish before the New Year has been rung in.

“They were better than us in the first half. It is not difficult for me to admit it,” Mourinho told reporters.

“They played in a system they are very comfortable with. A system they played for two years with Antonio Conte. Lots of their players are very comfortable with it.

“It’s easy for me to admit they were superior. But you look to the goals and they are not a consequence of any superiority.

“The first goal is a short corner with a big mistake. We know how to defend short corners, we train how to deal with short corners. The players involved were not focused.”

Mourinho admitted VAR was correct to award Chelsea their penalty despite referee Anthony Taylor not giving it but said Son’s red card, also awarded via VAR, was harsh.

He felt Rudiger had made a meal of their clash and said he should have had a yellow card for his initial challenge on Son.

“We were looking for a goal and instead of a goal comes a red card,” he said. “When you have the situation with Son and Rudiger it’s not a clear and obvious mistake by the referee.”

Mourinho then added sarcastically: “Rudiger is for sure having scans in the hospital on broken ribs because it was a really violent situation.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ian Chadband

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