After the frustration and fury at Newcastle’s 97th-minute equaliser on Sunday, Mourinho last night literally skipped into the dressing room in triumph almost as soon as Mason Mount sent the decisive spot-kick wide in Tottenham’s 5-4 win over Chelsea on penalties.
Mourinho’s decision to avoid post-match pleasantries with Frank Lampard followed a heated exchange between the pair in the first half, during which the Portuguese reminded the Chelsea boss that he had not been so vocal when his side were trailing 3-0 to West Brom on Saturday.
“We need to be there when [your team] are losing,” Mourinho explained. “In the last match, when [Chelsea] were losing 3-0, I felt really sorry for him, because he was sad and quiet in his chair.”
Both managers stressed their mutual respect afterwards, but Mourinho having the last laugh will have stung Lampard, particularly considering the circumstances of his first defeat to the 57-year-old in three meetings between the London rivals.
Spurs are in the midst of the most gruelling possible run of fixtures and last night’s contest was sandwiched 48 hours either side of Sunday’s draw with Newcastle and tomorrow’s one-off Europa League play-off against Maccabi Haifa.
Having effectively written off his side’s chances, Mourinho named a much-changed XI without Harry Kane, Giovani Lo Celso and the injured Heung-min Son, and lined-up with an ultra-defensive back five and no recognised striker. The approach both added weight to his desperation for a new centre-forward and made the decision to omit Dele Alli from the squad again all the more loaded.
Chelsea, meanwhile, were at full strength, with Lampard partnering Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi in attack and handing full debuts to summer signings Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea dominated a passive Spurs in the early exchanges and Werner’s precise strike — his first goal for the club — felt like an inevitability when it came after 19 minutes. From there, Chelsea should have taken charge. Instead, the Blues squandered control and Spurs finished the first half with the best two chances through Gedson Fernandes and Lamela.
Their ascendency continued after the break as they outfought Chelsea and Lampard tried to wrestle back dominance by introducing N’Golo Kante just after an hour. By then, Mourinho had called for Kane and Spurs continued to be on top to the point where Lamela’s 83rd-minute equaliser felt as inevitable as Werner’s goal.
After spending more than £220million this summer, Lampard will know his side must develop the killer instinct which Mourinho once instilled in him as a player.