Mourinho didn’t expect Lampard’s tactical genius, Chelsea legend reveals

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Jose Mourinho was outsmarted by Frank Lampard as the Blues boss ditched his 4-3-3 system to play a 3-4-3 against Tottenham.

It was the best strategy as Chelsea were by far the better team all game, and Jose Mourinho couldn’t respond to Frank Lampard’s surprise.

Mourinho claimed after the game that Lampard used a system built by Antonio Conte, but Chelsea legend Pat Nevin doesn’t seem to agree and has admitted that Mourinho was surprisingly outclassed by Lampard.

He wrote in his column for the official Chelsea website: “Much has been made of Jose commenting that it was an Antonio Conte system that was the difference but be fair, Antonio didn’t invent the 3-4-3 system. There are a variety of systems that can be used at any time and you have to find the right one for the right situation. That is the skill and more importantly the intelligence needed to be successful as a manager.

“There are plenty of top-flight managers that are wedded to one system or variations on one system. Conte was famously and successfully like that with us in his first season. But you take a chance if you become too rigid. Others can prepare all the more easily to block you. Maurizio Sarri was the same in terms of rigidity of system and he also managed to get success for a period, but there are times when adaptability is just as important, if not more.

“That is what has arguably been most impressive about Chelsea this season, the willingness to change and the ability to change for different situations. When I am analysing football anywhere in the media, the thing that impresses me most is when a coach does something surprising and unexpected, but only when it works of course. It is clear by Jose’s remarks that the changes Frank made, he absolutely didn’t see coming for a moment. Jose has often been the master of surprise and the unexpected, so it must have been quite a shock to be usurped in this area by a relatively new manager.

“Maybe even more surprising was that Jose didn’t seem to be able to react to it quickly enough either. He must have quickly spotted that things weren’t working but it was only when his side were 2-0 down that he brought on Eriksen for Dier and changed his team’s shape noticeably. For the man who has regularly made substitutions in the first half to save a situation he was surprisingly reticent to do it this time even though his team were second best by a distance. Maybe he didn’t want to upset any of his players this time, but that isn’t usually his modus operandi.”

About the Author

VICTOR N
Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.