Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 away at Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.
Pundit Martin Keown has told Match of the Day that he thinks Erik Lamela ‘completely changed the game’ for Tottenham Hotspur against Chelsea.
Tottenham travelled across London to take on bitter rivals Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, and had to do it without the injured attacking duo Son Heung-min and Harry Kane.
Spurs fell behind when Olivier Giroud – their January target – smashed home the opener for Chelsea, before Marcos Alonso fired in a second after the break.
Antonio Rudiger’s own goal gave Spurs hope of a late fightback, but Chelsea managed to hang on and claim the win, putting them four points clear of Tottenham again.
Jose Mourinho is of course limited up top right now with Son and Kane out, but his Spurs side look a little uninspiring at the moment; even the 3-2 win over Aston Villa last weekend seemed rudderless in spells.
The injuries and the short tenure so far mean Mourinho hasn’t come in for major criticism, especially as Spurs have been grinding out results, but Keown isn’t impressed.
The former Arsenal defender slated Spurs for a lack of conviction, expression and imagination on the ball, claiming he has no idea what Tottenham’s identity is right now.
Keown added that substitute Lamela – who put in the cross for Rudiger’s own goal after a signature and somewhat superfluous ball roll – changed the game as he was the only one to really play with expression, earning the luck involved in the goal.
“No conviction, no expression, and I think it’s coming from Mourinho in terms of the mindset,” said Keown. “They set up today with a three, they tried to contain Chelsea and then they weren’t able to change. It’s all too safe, they’re ignoring passes in, there could be a bit more imagination, they’re passive in their play, they ignore forward passes. Nobody seems to be attuned to the way that they’re playing, I don’t know what their identity is now.”
“I thought Lamela completely changed the game, he played with conviction, expression, they got lucky, but they deserved that by getting players forward. But I don’t agree with Mourinho that he doesn’t have the necessary firepower, he definitely has, it’s just the message that he’s given to those players,” he added.