If Chelsea’s previous match was decided by individual errors, despite a rousing comeback, last night’s Carabao Cup tie against Spurs brought the other old “favorite” of yesteryear back, the inability to finish chances.
Chelsea’s failure to kill off the game at 1-0 despite several excellent opportunities to do so, including a 2-v-1, came back to haunt us when another defensive calamity gifted a goal to Erik Lamela in the last ten minutes, with Spurs going on to strike true in the shootout lottery.
Lampard was left to rue what could’ve been, and not for the first time in his still rather short Chelsea managerial career.
“We were dominant and we want to score more goals at that point because of the amount of possession. Couple of good chances, Callum had a good chance at the end of the first half. [...] They had chances in the second half but so did we. At 1-0, the second goal finishes it for us and we didn’t get that.”
Instead, what we got was a rather classic Mourinho Game, with Spurs happy to batten down the hatches and wait out Chelsea’s largely harmless passing, before making a half-time adjustment that Chelsea were either not prepared for or simply unable to cope with — or both.
Either way, the Blues’ dominance disappeared in the second 45, and while we did instead get chances on the counter, the outcome was as inevitable as Mourinho’s posturing on the sidelines and in the media.
“Tottenham will have felt that hard and they changed their game to go longer in their build which meant that our fantastic press in the first half wasn’t as relevant up the pitch.
“They turned us round and made us run backwards, rather than pressing forwards and that becomes really difficult to be fair to the lads. We could have been better on the ball in the second half, maybe dealt with the physical nature of the Spurs game but it slightly changed the case of the game.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
So, Mourinho finally got one over Lampard, in four tries, by the narrowest of margins. Chelsea had done the double over Spurs in the league last season — the first time that’s ever happened to a Mourinho-managed team — and Lampard’s Derby County knocked out Mourinho’s Manchester United in this same competition a couple seasons ago. I suppose The Special Once was due one.
Disappointing as that may be, we can get some joy back in our lives by beating Crystal Palace on Saturday. Onwards!