Chelsea are the team to copy, claims Football League boss

Bramall Lane Sheffield United

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough wants his team to play exactly like Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

Clough, son of former Nottingham Forest and Derby manager Brian, joined Sheffield United last season, leading them to the FA Cup semi-finals, and to just seven points off the play-offs in League One.

He has started the current campaign impressively, winning five of 11 games to sit just four points off second place, and he told The Star that copying Premier League side Chelsea was the reason for United’s success at this early stage of the season.

“Chelsea are the absolute masters at getting themselves in front and then holding onto leads. I watched them play Arsenal not so long ago and, as soon as they got a goal, they never once looked like letting that lead slip away. You knew right there and then that they were going to win the game.

“That’s the mentality that all the top players have. They are so, so ruthless and it’s the mentality we want to have too.

“That, come what may, the other team isn’t going to get one over on us. If the lads want to study anyone at the moment then they could do a lot worse than them, it’s the first place they should start.”

The Blues defeat Arsenal 2-0 in the that game, with a first-half Eden Hazard penalty taking the tie away from the Gunners despite the majority of the game left to play. Mourinho set his team up to not concede, and they prevented their London rivals from having a single shot on target, before killing the game with a Diego Costa goal late in the fixture.

Despite the attacking threats amongst the Blues ranks, they all willingly defend for the team, and Clough highlighted Brazilian playmaker Oscar’s role in the victory.

“It’s all about the group,” he added.

“Take Oscar in that Arsenal match for example. He’s a playmaker, someone whose job, on the face of it, is to get at defences but there were moments in that Arsenal match when he was running back 50 or 60 yards to put a tackle in on the edge of his own penalty area.

“There are different departments to any side but they defend as a team and they attack as a team. That’s why they are so tough to play against, because they demand that of each other.

“We’ve got it here to be exactly the same.”

Clough is wise to take his advice from Mourinho, with the Blues currently the best team in England. Having remained undefeated across all competitions, they lead the Premier League title race by five points, and they don’t look to be ending their incredible run any time soon.

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