Maurizio Sarri admitted he was caught out by Tottenham’s tactics as they stifled Jorginho and defeated Chelsea 3-1 on Saturday.
Spurs were rampant for much of the Premier League clash at Wembley, with Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min on the scoresheet before Olivier Giroud netted a consolation.
Yet it was the work of Alli and Son going the other way that was perhaps most notable, as the pair worked hard to alternately harry Jorginho, so influential in Chelsea’s fine early season form.
Sarri identified that ploy as key to the midfield battle that was evidently won by Tottenham, describing his team’s performance in the opening 20 minutes as “a disaster”.
“It was clear after five minutes of the match that it was very difficult to use Jorginho as usual,” the Chelsea boss told a news conference after his first Premier League defeat, which saw the Blues overtaken by their London rivals.
“We had to get the ball from the centre-backs to the opposite full-backs, that was the only way to have one or two seconds of playing the ball.
“We were surprised because they normally play with a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, but they played 4-3-1-2.
Sarri says work in training is key now: ‘We have to try to do something because the defensive phase was a disaster today. The offensive players pressed badly, the midfield defended not very well, and the defensive line was a disaster.’#TOTCHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 24, 2018
“After five minutes, the situation was very clear. We lost a lot of balls and, against Tottenham, it’s very dangerous to lose the ball in your half.
“In short counter-attacks, they are one of the strongest teams in Europe. It was a disaster and, after 20 minutes, 2-0 was the minimum.”
However, opposite number Mauricio Pochettino was a little bemused by Sarri’s analysis, insisting his side consistently alters its shape in each match.
“The plan was to win the game and we won,” said Pochettino.
“We don’t use a fixed formation. If you follow us in all the games we play in the Champions League, cup and Premier League, we don’t talk about formation, we talk about tactics or animation.
“We talk about how we play in a different way with possession in the opposite half, how we organise the team in a defensive situation when we don’t have the ball.”
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