The Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho claimed his side were not happy just to settle for a point from a 0-0 draw at Chelsea that moved Tottenham back to the top of the Premier League.
Chelsea enjoyed the better of a game of few chances, but Spurs showed a flexibilty and steel to hold out for a fourth consecutive clean sheet that bolstered their claim to be contenders for a first league title in 60 years.
“The one thing I take from the game is normally a point here is a positive thing, to stay top of the league is also a positive thing, and my dressing room is not happy,” said Mourinho.
“That for me is fantastic. It’s a complete change of mentality and of personality.”
The evidence of the 90 minutes suggested Mourinho was indeed more than happy just to extend an unbeaten run in the league to nine games as cautious tactics from both saw the sides largely cancel each other out.
We didn’t have many chances, I agree, but how many did they have?” Mourinho added.
It’s a game where we respect them and they also respect us, nobody gambled. Everybody was in the situation of one mistake, I punish you, I win.”
A share of the spoils means Chelsea remain just two points behind their London rivals in third, with Liverpool trailing Tottenham only on goal difference.
Mourinho also ensured he did not lose three consecutive league meetings to the same manager for the first time in his career and to one of his former players, Frank Lampard.
– Kane, Son snuffed out –
Chelsea were wary not to give Tottenham any chance to counter-attack in the manner that cut open Manchester United and Manchester City in recent weeks.
“The clean sheet factor against a team we’ve seen recently are set up to counter-attack and have amazing players to counter-attack, I think that part of our game was excellent,” said Lampard. “Against Harry Kane and Son (Heung-min), we didn’t really give them a sniff.”
Only once did Spurs’ pace on the break threaten to cause Chelsea problems when Steven Bergwijn turned inside and blasted just over the bar early on.
The arrival of Edouard Mendy has resulted in a huge upturn in Chelsea’s defensive record with now six clean sheets in seven league games and the Senegalese produced a smart stop to deny Serge Aurier’s strike from outside the box.
But that was the only effort on goal either side managed before the break as Chelsea controlled possession with little penetration.
Timo Werner did produce an exquisite finish to fire in off the far post, but the goal was ruled out for offside against the German international.
Chelsea began to push with more purpose early in the second half as three times Tammy Abraham could not get a clean contact on inviting crosses from Reece James and Werner.
“We completely dominated the game possession wise,” added Lampard. “You can’t play through this Tottenham team because they are really compact and with any slack pass they want to counter-attack.
I thought it would be hard to create chances but I thought we had enough to win the game.”
Lampard showed his intent to try and win the game by throwing on Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud in the final quarter, while Mourinho kept Gareth Bale in reserve for the full 90 minutes.
Hugo Lloris was finally forced into a meaningful save 10 minutes from time when the Spurs captain turned Mason Mount’s powerful strike behind.
The biggest chance to win the game came in stoppage time when Giroud pounced on a weak header from Joe Rodon, but he did not get enough on an attempted lob over Lloris and his French international teammate easily saved.