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Chelsea goalkeeper plays down roles of Mourinho, Lampard in Sunday’s derby against Spurs

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The pitch is all that matters

Manchester United v Derby County - Carabao Cup - Third Round - Old Trafford Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Old Man Willy C believes that a football match between two football teams of eleven football players each will be decided on the football pitch, and not next to the football pitch.

Is that obvious? Maybe. It still might need to be said and emphasized, especially as we build up to Sunday’s showdown.

As the truism usually attributed to Giovanni Trapattoni goes, a good manager can make a team 10 per cent better, but a bad manager can make the same team 30 per cent worse. (And as we know, sometimes that’s the same manager!) Managers take the fall and the credit, but their influence is, by definition, limited. The vast majority of a team’s performance, any team’s performance, is still left up to the players themselves. And that’s where Caballero knows Sunday’s derby will be decided as well.

“[Spurs] have improved a lot [under Mourinho] but, on the other hand, Chelsea know Mourinho very well. Also Frank knows Mourinho very well. The advantage will be on the pitch and not on the bench.”

Unfortunately, as Willy points out, Spurs’ results have improved dramatically since appointing José almost exactly a month ago. He’s doing that 10 per cent thing.

He’s won 5 of his 7 games in charge — that’s as many as Spurs had the entire season up to that point in all competitions (17 games) — losing only at Old Trafford and in a dead rubber Champions League group match against Bayern.

Meanwhile, Lampard’s Chelsea have won just 2 of the 7 games in that same period, scoring just 8 goals in the process. José’s Spurs have lit the proverbial lamp 18 times. How many times will they light the proverbial Lamps on Sunday? If we don’t play better than we have been, it might be quite a few.

“We love this kind of game and this rivalry. It’s a massive derby. We want to win because it’s a derby and because we lost the last game. We need these three points.

”We know they’re putting in better performances now, they’re running differently from two months ago. We’ll have to do a great job over there.”

Chelsea’s long held hoodoo over Spurs is not what it once was either. We’ve won just 4 of our last 8 against them in all competitions, and won just one of the last six games at Three Point Lane.

But, we’ve never played at their new stadium before, so there’s no better time than the present to begin a new tradition. After all, Lampard has already beaten Mourinho once as a football manager, even if that football game was also decided on the football pitch, by the football players, just like Sunday’s will be.

“They had a game when Frank was at Derby last season and Jose was at United. Nothing happens on the benches. The only thing that’s important is the players on the pitch.”

-Willy Caballero; source: Sky