JOSE MOURINHO can only hope that Daniel Levy wasn’t paying too much attention to the transformative effects of a managerial change.
For while Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea dictated this London derby, zipping the ball around on a slick surface like an ice hockey team working the puck, Mourinho’s Tottenham were all retro slo-mo
This was a third straight defeat, the first time Mourinho has ever suffered back-to-back home league losses, and it leaves Spurs seven points adrift of the Champions League places.
But this isn’t about bald stats. It has more to do with the turgid nature of the fare being dished out to Spurs fans like prison food.
At a club which demands daring and flair, a manager who dislikes the very concepts.
When Spurs are winning – as they were, consistently, earlier this season – Mourinho and Levy can get away with it.
But when they start to lose, the ill-fitting nature of Mourinho’s appointment is horribly apparent.
Chelsea won it through a Jorginho penalty but they were streets ahead of Spurs for the vast majority of the contest.
Sure, he is missing Harry Kane and, sure, he is still in three cup competitions.
But much of this, especially if it continues when the England captain returns from an ankle injury, and Levy is going to need a long, hard think.
Tuchel has improved Chelsea markedly in little more than a week.
They are yet to concede a goal in three matches, thanks to an experienced three-man defence, and they pass and move impressively.
There is no prolific goal threat just yet but the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss is clearly on the right tracks.
With Mourinho you get the impression that there is little more than defensive shape and the hope of getting lucky on the counter attack.
These two rivals bored out a goalless draw in what was seen as a title six-pointer at Stamford Bridge in late November.
Since both have seen their form topple off a cliff edge – Spurs with two wins from nine Premier League matches, Chelsea having had an identical record prior to Sunday’s victory over Burnley.
Mourinho had taken Tuchel’s arrival to remind us, not for the first time, of the three titles he won during two spells at the Bridge.
Unsurprisingly, Mourinho discarded Gareth Bale after his dismal performance at Brighton.
Instead, the Spurs boss gave his back-up striker Carlos Vinicius the chance to deputise for Kane, which, after all, was what he’d been
brought here to do.
Tuchel started Timo Werner despite a three-month Premier League goal drought, which will soon necessitate a hosepipe ban.
Callum Hudson-Odoi shoved up front alongside him, with Mason Mount tucked behind them.
Chelsea were fluid and flowing, Spurs solid but stodgy.
Mourinho seems intent on changing this club’s motto from ‘To Dare Is To Do’ to ‘Don’t You Dare’.
Spurs had a couple of early counter-attacking opportunities but Vinicius botched the best of them.
And generally we were just waiting for Chelsea to pass and pass until the found the killer ball.
It was skipper Cesar Azpilicueta who found it a delicious one through the inside-right channel, which Werner sprinted to get on the end of.
Eric Dier went to ground, and as Werner attempted to wriggle past him, the England defender hooked away his foot.
It was the fourth penalty Dier had conceded since football’s restart in June and that is a concerning stat for Mourinho and Gareth Southgate.
It was encouraging movement from Werner but Tuchel has taken his fellow German off the penalty duties Lampard had handed him, having missed one in the FA Cup victory over Luton on the eve of his formern manager’s sacking.
Jorginho, who had failed three times from the spot this season, belted it past Hugo Lloris.
Thiago Silva, who had started like a vintage Jag, was forced to limp off soon after.
Serge Aurier, back in harness after emptying his pram during last week’s defeat by Liverpool, headed narrowly wide from a Son Heung-Min free-kick.
Chelsea were dictating it, yet too often their final ball was lax.
Tuchel, who has an endearing habit of hopping up and down in frustration on the touchline, lost his rag just before half-time, yelling – with some restraint – ‘FOR GOOD-NESS SAKE!’
Spurs have done away with their big-screen ‘Zoom wall’ of sofa bound supporters. Presumably to stop them mouthing silent boos at Mourinho at his team.
Mount was causing all sorts of mischief in his deep-lying central role and when he released Werner, the German must have scented the end of his barren stretch – only for Aurier to thieve him with an excellent tackle.
As the rain piddled it down, Chelsea zipped it about at the speed of an ice-hockey team working the puck – Marcos Alonso fizzed a volley over from a James cut-back.
Mount then mincemeat Dier and saw his low shot pushed away by a plunging Lloris.
Sub Erik Lamela helped to liven things up and forced a first proper save from Edouard Mendy, who flung himself at a bending long-ranger.
For Spurs supporters the only question can be: “Is there much more of this?”