The academy star lost one of his biggest supporters when Lampard was sacked but he was the standout performer again as his side downed Spurs away
On a night when Thomas Tuchel tactically outmanoeuvred Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, it was Mason Mount who took on the key tactical role to unlock Chelsea’s London rivals.
Ahead of kick-off, the Blues looked like they were going to line up in a 3-4-3 system but on once out the pitch, they dropped Mount into a No.10 role with Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi paired as two strikers.
It worked well with Mount dictating the play in front of a flat Spurs back four that couldn’t track him. His spatial awareness continually allowed him to link the midfield and attack to brutal effect.
“It will be difficult for other teams because different formations and tactics means they won’t know what we will come with,” Mount told BT Sport after.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old midfielder also interchanged positions with Werner to allow the struggling German forward more space and pull Spurs’ defenders out of position. He was on set-pieces too with a number of short corner routines used to unsettle Mourinho’s team of giants.
Jorginho scored the decisive penalty to make it 1-0 in the 24th minute, scrapping his ‘bounce’ technique in the process, after a needless foul by Eric Dier on Werner.
However, Mount was the tactical trump card that allowed Chelsea to not only dominate but to create against an ultra-defensive team.
Having been described as ‘Frank Lampard’s son’ in some quarters – due to a perceived favouritism on the part of his ex-Derby and Chelsea boss – good displays under Tuchel will serve to further bury the arguments of Mount’s critics who are still unable or unwilling to see his talent.
Indeed, ahead of this game, Tuchel described how impressed he had been with Mount and his early team selections prove that he isn’t going to ignore one of Lampard’s most utilised players.
“I agree with his potential, I see,” the new coach said. “What I’ve seen from the outside and what I’ve seen on the inside, he is 100 per cent all the time. He cares a lot about Chelsea. He cares a lot about his team-mates. He is leaving his heart on the pitch.
“If you train with Mason, if you play with Mason, you can be sure he gives 100% every minute and this is the best level to grow. It’s the best situation to start and the best situation to become a top, top player.
“He has everything needed to reach higher and higher levels. I don’t know where his limits are but right now we will push him and support him. The most important thing is that it comes from inside of him.
“What makes me very happy is he is a nice guy, a totally open guy. He has a positive aura and energy in the dressing room and it’s a real pleasure to work with the whole team and Mason.”
Lampard might well have selected many of the right players, but his in-game management and tactical approach too often left his team lacking against the Premier League’s best.
He picked up just two points in five matches against top-six clubs but Tuchel has got three already following his first match away at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The early impact of the former Paris Saint-Germain coach has been remarkable. He has given opportunities to his whole squad and has brought a positive atmosphere to a an out-of-sorts Blues squad.
Most notable is how Chelsea have earned three clean sheets from his first three games, with Tuchel becoming the first manager to achieve such a feat since Mourinho did it in August 2004.
For that achievement, credit has to be given to the goalkeeper and back three as well as the two No.6s in Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho who have excelled in this new system.
For all the positivity a deserved win over Spurs brings, Mourinho’s side were very poor. There will be further tests for Tuchel in the coming weeks to take this club beyond the sixth place spot they currently occupy.
Tuchel still needs to find more attacking fluidity and, specifically, to find a performance from Werner, whose goal drought now extends to 13 league games.
“We had a lot of control in the first half, we had chances where we need to be more clinical, myself included,” Mount admitted. “It is tough to come here and control throughout but we played very well.”
The aim is to finish in the top four and earn a Champions League place next season, while competing to win the Champions League and FA Cup.
In his first few games in charge, Tuchel has already found out that ‘Lampard’s son’ is dependable for him too and is perfectly suited to the 3-4-1-2 system.
Most exciting of all is that the best is still to come from the young England international.
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