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Mourinho praises Chelsea's 'global attitude' for improved defending

Clive Mason/Getty Images

We might be a little wary of attributing too much significance to it — after all, it's not like we're winning every match and making up tremendous ground on the Premier League's top four — but there's no denying that Chelsea's defensive record has improved over the past month or so.  We've kept four clean sheets in our last five matches in all competitions and in the seven matches since the start of November, we've allowed just three goals total (unfortunately, two of those came in matching 1-0 losses).

As the personnel used in those matches has varied, Mourinho's credited the team's improved attitudes towards defending as a unit, rather than individuals.  We saw the latter far too often early in the season (fullbacks isolated against wingers, center backs left exposed by midfielders, etc.) so the increased defensive solidity is certainly a welcome development.

"The tactical adjustments are minimal compared with the global attitude."

"I always say the same: you defend with 11 players, you have more chances to defend well. In this moment our team is working well and hard defensively, the attacking players are doing their job. When I say everybody has to defend, I'm not saying my striker has to defend a cross in the face of my goal. I expect my striker to put pressure on the players that are trying to make the build up. Everyone has a job to do and when everybody does their job, it's easier."

-Jose Mourinho; source: BT Sport

Pressing as a team.  Defending as a team.  Football is a team game.

"You cannot go to the faces, because the faces change and the performances are still there. We changed the goalkeeper (to Thibaut Courtois), but (Asmir) Begovic also had a clean sheet against Tottenham. You change (Cesc) Fabregas for Ramires, but with Fabregas we also had a cleansheet. You change (Gary) Cahill with John (Terry). With Cahill we also had cleansheets. So it's not about the faces. It's about the global attitude."

"Small tactical adjustments, but the attitude I think is the most important thing."

-Jose Mourinho; source: BT Sport

I'd argue that faces do matter — better chance of a clean sheet with Courtois and Ramires rather than Begovic and Fabregas — but it's a general message of praise from the manager to his squad, and that's fine, too.

Now, how about that attitude towards attacking as a team and not just as individuals watching each other?  (Though the Porto match was an improvement in that regard as well.)

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