Dynamic Chelsea drive Ange Postecoglou to the point of disgust

Nicolas Jackson

Ange Postecoglou has been insistent that Champions League football is “not a Willy Wonka golden ticket” for Tottenham Hotspur, and that growth as a team is more important than finishing in the top four. His problem is that, on this trajectory, Spurs are heading for neither.

No Champions League football and, in the last few weeks, not much growth either. The glory days of autumn must feel a long time ago for Postecoglou, who spent most of this London derby stewing in barely concealed anger towards his players. His default position was with his hands in his pockets, a scowl on his face and his head shaking in frustration.

London derbies affect the mood at the capital’s clubs more than any other fixtures and, for Spurs, these past few days have represented two gruelling blows to the Postecoglou project. The defeat by Arsenal at home on Sunday, and then this loss at Chelsea to former manager Mauricio Pochettino, has raised some uncomfortable and pressing questions.

Chief among them: can Spurs still reach the top four? Postecoglou may not be fussed about the riches of Europe’s premier competition but you can be sure that his bosses, and the club’s potential transfer targets, are. Defeat here leaves them seven points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, with one game in hand.

For Chelsea, by contrast, another night of promise for Pochettino, even if recent history suggests that it might quickly be followed by a spineless loss against West Ham United on Sunday. That is simply what Chelsea are, but at least their fans could enjoy this moment with relish as Trevoh Chalobah and Nicolas Jackson struck either side of half-time.

There are days when this new Chelsea looks to have the shape and structure of a proper, serious team. Days when Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke run at their full-backs, when Cole Palmer dances in that space between the opposition’s defence and midfield.

The problem for Pochettino is that those days have been far too infrequent this season, and that the other side of this Chelsea team – the disastrous side – is never too far away. As Pochettino put it after their thrashing at Arsenal last week: “When we have bad days, we are so bad.”

Pleasingly for the home crowd at Stamford Bridge, this was not one of the calamitous evenings. Chelsea were sharp for most of the game here, with Moises Caicedo snapping into tackles and Marc Cucurella causing problems for Spurs by drifting into midfield. Jackson was tireless and took his goal with genuine class.

It was all a little erratic at times but it was still front-foot, dynamic football. The kind of football that Pochettino imposed so successfully in his former life as the Spurs manager. When the opening goal arrived, with Chalobah heading powerfully from Conor Gallagher’s free-kick, it was a deserved lead.

Trevoh Chalobah scores

Gallagher was one of Chelsea’s better performers, always running in midfield, in what must have been a slightly strange night for him. Gallagher is a target for Spurs this summer, with the expectation in football that Chelsea will be inclined to sell the player in order to help their balance sheet. If such a transfer happens, it will be greeted with rage by the Chelsea faithful.

Before kick-off here, the home supporters raised a huge banner in the stands featuring Gallagher’s face. The caption read: “Chelsea since birth”. As a message to the owners and executives, it could hardly have been more clear.

Gallagher banner
Chelsea fans made their feelings about the long-rumoured sale of Conor Gallagher obvious - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It is not hard to see why Spurs are interested in Gallagher, a player of personality and running power in the heart of the pitch. Without the benched James Maddison, their midfield struggled badly in the first half. Son Heung-min was anonymous as a result, while Richarlison offered little up front.

The consequence of all this, for Postecoglou, was disgust. He spent most of the first half either shaking his head in disappointment or shouting at his players, and his unhappiness seeped onto the pitch. After half an hour, goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario and centre-back Micky van de Ven were angrily bickering with each other.

There would have been disgruntlement within the fanbase, too, after yet another goal was conceded from a set-piece. Chalobah’s header was the 15th set-piece goal that Spurs have conceded this season, following two against Arsenal at the weekend. Postecoglou continues to say he does not want a specialist coach but it is an argument that is losing strength by the week.

Spurs, it must be said, were the dominant team for much of the second half. But while they pushed forward in numbers, they created few clear opportunities. The arrival of Maddison helped their cause but still there were only half-chances to report, as Chelsea became increasingly content to sit on their lead and strike on the break.

The home side’s second goal was an impressive finish by Jackson, whose lack of cutting edge has been criticised at times this season. As Palmer’s free-kick bounced off the bar and into the air, Jackson generated remarkable power on his header, sending it looping into Vicario’s net.

Nicolas Jackson
Nicolas Jackson heads home Chelsea's second in their win over Spurs after Cole Palmer's free-kick bounced off the crossbar - PA/John Walton

Another set-piece goal conceded for Spurs? Perhaps, although that might be one for the statisticians to decide. More important was that it settled the result on the night, and confirmed a third consecutive defeat for Spurs. That makes one victory in their last eight away matches, which is neither top-four form nor evidence of much collective progress.

Chelsea 2 Tottenham 0: as it happened

10:15 PM BST

Ange seethes

It’s not good enough and I’ve got to take responsibility for that it’s on me. I have to look at myself and see how I can have more of an impact.

When we put in a performance like we did in the first half it’s clear the message isn’t getting through.

Look mate we didn’t play well. That’s on me. I thought their first goal was a foul but that’s just me. We didn’t deserve to get anything out of the game.

Our midfield in general I think we’ve lost a little belief.

I thought it was a foul but it wasn’t about conceding the goal, it was our whole approach.

I didn’t say I wasn’t interested about set pieces I said it was not my priority but that’s all right if people want to think I don’t care about set pieces

Sometimes you have to grind it out and get through.

I don’t now how we answer these questions [does the Champions League look a long way off now]. I’ve said we didn’t perform and it’s my responsibility [to fix that]

10:01 PM BST

Van de Ven talks to Sky Sports

It was not a good performance. We can do much better. We can play much better. The first half we didn’t try to play. We didn’t push forward. Nothing.

There was not the confidence today.

I don’t want to say the confidence has gone. Suinday [Liverpool away] is a big game and we have to bounce back well.

Every [set piece] is going in at the moment. Of course, it can’t happen, two goals again coming from set pieces. But it’s not that every time when they have set piece I think, it’s going to be a goal.

It’s important we play a good game on Sunday. I don’t want to look up at the Champions League now. It’s going to be difficult.

09:53 PM BST

Pochettino on his future

It’s difficult every week to be under judgment but it’s not my decision.

If after all the circumstances of this season, if we want to match the history of Chelsea we have a lot of work to do if we are given the time to build.

09:49 PM BST

Mauricio Pochettino speaks to Sky Sports

We trust in our players even in the circumstances [14 injuries] it was an opportunity to show we believe in what we are doing, our philosophies. Full credit to the players. he way we approach the game. Our efforts, the way we tried to play. It’s the first time in the season I really feel so happy.

It’s the moment after 10 months that the team knows how to compete against a great team. How we connected defence and attack. There was a balance.

I don’t know if it’s the best performance but it’s the best feeling, the most important.

With all the circumstances, that showed we were doing things well. I think the whole team was, in both phases, was connected.

09:45 PM BST

Trevoh Chalobah speaks to Sky Sports

I’ve been working a lot on headers at set-pieces in training and in my spare time. We’ve been working on a back-post spin. Credit to Cucu[rella] for getting me through.

I’ve been through a lot in my career. it’s importantm for me to make steady progress, to give the manager a headache. Pulling this shirt on is a massive feeling having been here since the age of nine. Alfie [Gilchrist] was brilliant today but I think I helped him with communication. He slotted in nicely.

The ability we have as a young team, the moment we get that consistency we’ll be flying. But we need to stay humble, stay grounded.

09:30 PM BST

Full time: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Deserved 2-0 victory for Chelsea against a Spurs team that seems to have run out of gas. The vivacity of their early season form and during that statement victory over Villa has fizzled out over the past couple of weeks and this is a third defeat in succession.

Chelsea have had a fine week, building on their ballsy and skilful comeback against Villa to beat Tottenham convincingly. Injuries have forced Pochettino to stop chopping and changing and tonight he found the winning formula with some very inexperienced players.

09:26 PM BST

90+4 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Maddison has a shot that balloons away.

Chalobah is named man of the match by Sky for his terrific header and likely clean sheet.

Tauriainen ⇢ Jackson.

09:24 PM BST

90+2 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Bentancur catches Jackson on he ball and races forward with six team-mates around him. He works the ball out to the right and is given it back to shoot ... waywardly.

09:23 PM BST

90 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Lo Celso has two bites at a shot to the left of the box and then Acheampong blocks Maddison’s shot out for a corner an, 30 seconds later, Hojbjerg’s which was bang on target.

Six minutes of stoppage time to follow.

09:21 PM BST

89 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Spurs fans are streaming out and only a fraction of them will have seen Bentancur’s tame daisycutter from 20 yards that Petrovic smothers.

09:19 PM BST

87 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Maddison sandwiches Caicedo with Gil and concedes yet another free-kick just outside the box.

Palmer takes with his left, bending it in from the right and Vicario, in fear it might dip late, palms it over the bar.

09:17 PM BST

85 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Gilchrist cannt go on:

Acheampong ⇢ Gilchrist

And for Tottenham:

Lo Celso ⇢ Emerson.

09:16 PM BST

83 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Petrovic launches a clearance straight into touch by halfway but Chelsea pick off the second phase after the throw-in and attack up the right to earn one of their own. Gilchrist goes down and tries to treat his own cramp. On come the physios to assist.

09:13 PM BST

81 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Tottenham look as though their attack needs oiling. The lack of movement in the first half and after an opening 20-minute burst at the start of the second has given their midfielders and full-backs very little to aim at.

09:10 PM BST

78 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Postecoglou has seen enough (or actually too little) from Johnson:

Gil ⇢ Johnson.

09:09 PM BST

76 min: Chelsea 2 Spurs 0

Two goals from cheaply conceded free-kicks when the Chelsea players were running crossfield or away from goal.

Tottenham fashion an immediate chance to get back into it with Porro’s pass across the box from the right to Johnson at the back post, completely unmarked and he makes a complete mess of it, spearing a simple finish wide.

Casadei ⇢ Mudryk.

09:04 PM BST


Chelsea 2 Spurs 0 (Jackson) The free-kick is only a couple of centimetres right of centre. Palmer bends it with his left expertly on to the underside of the bar to the right of goal, beating Vicario but not the frame. The ball crashes down a yard in front of the line and spins back. Jackson leaps 10 yards out and at the apex of his jump loops a header over two scrambling defenders and in at the left post.

Jackson scores
Jackson soars to score - John Walton/PA Wire

09:03 PM BST

72 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Kulusevski slides in to try to tackle Cucurella 25 yards out and scissors him with his trailing leg. Palmer lines up the free-kick ...

09:03 PM BST

71 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Having only Cesare Casadei on the Chelsea bench with any significant minutes this season, and those for Leicester, small wonder Mauricio Pochettino is not risking any changes yet.

09:01 PM BST

69 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Johnson slides a shot wide with his left foot from the left of the box but it wouldn’t have counted as Son was offside in the build-up instigated by Maddison.

09:00 PM BST

67 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Booking for Van de Ven for legging up Jackson in the centre-circle as he threatened to run in one-on-one with the keeper as Chelsea broke after defending a Spurs corner.

Conor Gallagher banner
Chelsea fans make it clear that they want Conor Gallagher to stay - Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

08:56 PM BST

63 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Triple Spurs substitution:

Hojbjerg ⇢ Bissouma

Maddison ⇢ Richarlison

Bentancur ⇢ Sarr

Hojbjerg’s first touch is a long-range shot that he can’t keep down. His next two give the ball away.

08:54 PM BST

61 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Sarr and Johnson combine to play Porro in down the inside-right and into the box to shoot but he can’t get it past the diving Petrovic. Back come Spurs and lay siege to the penalty box until Emerson pulls the trigger and fires a riser over the bar.

08:52 PM BST

59 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Gilchrist wins another header from a Spurs diagonal and heads it to Madueke who speeds off upfield and lays it off outside to Palmer who runs at Emerson dribbling with his left then chops it on to his right to shoot. Emerson does well to stretch and block.

08:50 PM BST

57 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Big tackles by Caicedo on Son and Gilchrist on Kulusevski stop a Spurs attack up the left and Cucurella then blocks Johnson’s cross from the right when he had Richarlison free and onside in the box to pick out.

08:48 PM BST

55 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Certainly a different Spurs this half. Not just the urgency but the precision. Cucurella, though, is having a good game so far against Johnson and times his tackle to perfection when the right-winger is picked out by a raking 40-yard Sarr pass.

08:47 PM BST

53 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Postecoglou and Gary Neville applaud a long Romero diagonal that picks out Son in an offside position. They want him to isolate young Gilchrist and bully him.

08:45 PM BST

51 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Gilchrist has a dig at Son as the Spurs captain was shielding the ball on the left, level with the six-yard line. He can’t resist nipping his ankles and Porro takes the free-kick, fizzing it across the six-yard box. But Chelsea deal with it at the far post and counter at pace. They race up the left and Mudryk picks out Madueke to the right of the D. He slips it outside with a cute pass for Palmer to step off the right wing on to his left and shoot, from 20 yards, high, wide and hideous.

08:42 PM BST

48 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

More intensity from Spurs in the press, Richarlison now hounding Petrovic and Johnson Cucurella. It sparks a rendition of When the Spurs Go Marching In from the away fans. The slow version, 45rpm played at 33 and a third.

08:40 PM BST

48 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

From the free-kick Spurs attack up the right with greater urgency than the first half and work it to Richarlison who lays it off to Kulusevski whose shot is blocked. Spurs come back down the right and Sarr whips over a cross that Petrovic dives to block at the near post and the ball spins off his gloves and away from danger. Son was lurking at the back post.

08:37 PM BST

46 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

No changes as Tottenham kick off, attacking the Shed. Madueke immediately concedes a free-kick with a reducer on Emerson.

08:36 PM BST

Sky has just shown the build-up to Ange blowing his top

And it stems from repeated cheap free-kicks conceded and Bissouma and Sarr failing to hold on to possession.

08:35 PM BST

Tottenham’s worst performance of the season?

Yes, according to Karen Carney and Jamie Redknapp. They were pretty whiffy against Fulham as well. As Chelsea showed on Saturday night, though. Talent can suddenly spark into life. Chelsea may wish they were further ahead, given how dominant they have been.

08:21 PM BST

Half-time: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Van de Ven uses his pace to stop a Chelsea attack at the cost of a corner that is sent too deep annd out of play. That proves the cue for the whistle.

08:20 PM BST

45+3 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Son, almost invisible this half, waits a bit too long for the corner to drop to him to try a volley. Mudryk gets under the flight of the ball to impede him.

08:18 PM BST

45+2 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Porro feeds Johnson down the right and he runs at Cucurella, plays a one-two with the advancing Porro then picks out Sarr 12 yards out to shoot. The ball hits a Chelsea player and goes behind for a corner.

08:17 PM BST

45 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Four minutes of stoppage time are signalled, most of them for the VAR check.

08:15 PM BST

43 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Johnson is found in some space down the right and he goes direct, running at Cucurella who watches the ball, doesn’t dive in and blocks the cross out for a corner. Porro takes the corner, knocks it long and the ball comes back to him after a half-clearance is recycled. He goes deep again with his cross ... which sails into touch.

08:13 PM BST

41 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Chelsea take this one short and decide not to test Vicario and the aerial prowess, or lack of it, of Spurs’ defenders. They seem to surprise Mudryk by rolling it to him but he collects the pass hit slightly behind him, scurries infield and thumps a right-foot shot into orbit.

08:12 PM BST

39 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Madueke has another productive run at Emerson then regroups to put Palmer down the right wing. Chelsea work it infield and Porro concedes another free-kick, this one 35 yards out.

08:10 PM BST

37 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Spurs free-kick on the right, parallel with the penalty spot. Porro lines it up and hangs up the cross to the back post for Romero a couple of yards out. The right touch and it’s a goal all day long as Ally McCoist would say. But the connection is poor and it slides off his nose to the left of the post.

Romero heads wide
Romero wastes a golden chance - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

08:07 PM BST

34 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Postecoglou has lost his rag, railing at Sarr and Romero to get a grip. They just haven’t turned up tonight.

Ange Postecoglou on the touchline
Big Ange blows his top - John Walton/PA Wire

08:05 PM BST

32 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Palmer beats Bissouma down the right then chops back to diddle Emerson before spraying a pass out to Mudryk stepping in off the left. He takes a touch infield and wraps his instep around a Henry/Summerville right-foot curler from the left of the D but can’t get it to bend back in to creep in at the right post.

08:03 PM BST

29 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Chelsea have definitely been the better team and Spurs are having kittens at every set piece. Noticeable, as Sam said, that Cucurella is playing in the City mode, making a triple pivot in central midfield by coming infield.

08:02 PM BST

27 min: Chelsea 1 Spurs 0

Postecoglou is furious that Cucurella was not penalised for blocking Johnson’s run but, though he did stand in front of him and cling on momentarily, I don’t know a current referee who would consider that a foul.

Another set-piece goal conceded by Spurs. This won’t help Ange Postecoglou’s case as he continues to deny the need for a specialist coach in that area. Chalobah was unmarked throughout.

07:56 PM BST


Chelsea 1 Tottenham 0 (Chalobah)  When you’re so rubbish at defending set-pieces, one thing you can do is stop conceding free-kicks and corners. Spurs give away another cheaply, right of centre. Palmer chips it diagonally to the left and Chalobah gets up to loop a header into the far corner. Long VAR check to see if Cucurella was blocking from an offside position. But he wasn’t doing much and the goal is eventually awarded.

Chalobah heads the first goal
Chalobah scores the opener - Chris Lee/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

07:55 PM BST

24 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Madueke sprints away from Emerson again and cuts in off the right on to his left and, like Hakim Ziyech was wont to do, smacks a left foot shot over the bar.

07:54 PM BST

22 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Bad tackle on Caicedo goes unpunished, save for a free-kick which Palmer swings into the box, looking for Badiashile who can’t win it cleanly.

Caicedo hurt
Caicedo's achilles is raked - GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Image

07:51 PM BST

20 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Madueke lines up the jockeying Emerson then slams on the gas to spurt infield and to the byeline in the box. He picks up his head to look and tries to work it back to Jackson but Romero reads it and whacks it clear.

07:50 PM BST

18 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Gilchrist makes headway down the right and is Johnny on the Spot when the ball ricochets out of the box to him 20 yards out. He spanks his shot into orbit, though. A case of vertigo for the young full-back.

07:48 PM BST

16 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Gary Neville highlights Vicario’s skittishness at the corner and he is like a cat on a hot tin roof as the ball comes in but manages to reach over Richarlison and swat the cross behind for another. Chelsea want to test him again with a cross under the bar but it’s headed away by Richarlison properly this time.

Marc Cucurella is tucking in from left-back, really pushing into midfield. It’s leaving a lot of space behind him but he’s getting into some interesting positions.

07:46 PM BST

14 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Now Mudryk slides a pass inside Emerson, between the right-back and Romero. Cucurella has made the run but hesitates when a shot was on and has to settle for a corner when he finally tries to square it.

07:44 PM BST

12 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Mudryk has started very brightly down the left. Perhaps all these injuries will be the making of the ones who have stayed fit, giving them a run of games on the bounce that they wouldn’t be given with their voluminous squad when everyone’s available.

07:43 PM BST

10 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Emerson overeggs a drive when driving past Madueke into the box. Madueke grabs his left biceps as he passes which seems to pull the rip cord to collapse him into a heap. He wants a penalty but he would never be given one even though there was contact.

Vicario hugs Van de Ven
Vicario thanks Van de Ven for bailing him out - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

07:40 PM BST

8 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

For Spurs Johnson is on the right, Kulusevski in the middle behind Richarlison and Son on the left. Johnson gets free down the right and loops over a cross that drifts out for a goal-kick, shepherded that way by Chalobah and Gilchrist.

07:38 PM BST

5 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Misjudgement by Viacrio almost lets Jackson in. Mudryk bent a pass with the outside of his right infield from the left. Jackson outpaced Van de Ven and, startled by seeing the hare-like Dutchman beaten in a sprint, Vicario hesitates. Jackson prods a quick shot through the keeper’s legs but it catches his heel, taking the pace off it and Van de Ven gets back to hook it off the line but only to Palmer who, with the goal gaping, slaps his shot over the bar, In his defence it came to him very quickly.

07:34 PM BST

3 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Mudryk wins two tackles but loses a third when Porro whips it off him at halfway and is subsequently fouled by Jackson. Spurs work the free-kick back to Viacrio who plays a risky short pass to Bissouma who manages to spin in the nick of time and lay it off. But Chelsea pen Spurs into the final third.

07:32 PM BST

1 min: Chelsea 0 Spurs 0

Chelsea kick off, attacking from right to left and knock it back to Chalobah who launches it long up the right, testing out Emerson, playing on the wrong side. He deals with the header and Spurs attack up the right, eventually earning a throw-in.

07:27 PM BST

The teams are in the tunnel

Cue the Liquidator – Chelsea are in royal blue with white socks. Spurs have returned to navy shorts and navy socks to go with their white, home shirts.

07:19 PM BST

Teenage rampage off the bench?

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 10 league games against Spurs but they are so short of options and depth tonight that it feels like the visitors should really have the upper hand. Chelsea’s bench is absolutely devoid of experience and it is hard to envisage a scenario in which Pochettino uses it in any meaningful way.

As for the Spurs bench, there is a place for 16-year-old Mikey Moore. He’s a winger who plays for England at youth level and is very, very highly rated indeed. I saw him in the flesh in a youth game a year ago and, despite being two or three years younger than most of the others, he was the best player on the pitch by some distance.

07:15 PM BST

Postecoglou on dropping Maddison

Like a lot of lads [Maddsion has] had a disrupted season. I wanted to freshen it up but juts because Madders is on the bench doesn’t mean he can’t have an impact.

07:10 PM BST

Spurs have a terrible record at Stamford Bridge

Just one win in 16 years, back in 2018 under Pochettino, and two in total in all competitions in 38 visits in 34 years.

06:47 PM BST

Pochettino: I still don’t feel the love of Chelsea fans

By Ian McCullough

Mauricio Pochettino admits there’s little love shown to him by the Chelsea fans but insists there is an appreciation of the job he is doing.

Pochettino has endured a difficult first season in charge with Chelsea sitting in ninth spot with just five matches of the season remaining, despite the club spending over a billion pounds on new players.

Last week’s 5-0 thrashing by Arsenal increased the pressure on the 52-year-old who has just one year left on his contract and has struggled to win over fans largely due to his connections with Tottenham.

But the Argentine, who will tonight manage his 400th game in English football against his former club, eight years to the day since the infamous Battle of Stamford Bridge, acknowledged he needs time to win over the Blues faithful and claimed his personality is often misunderstood.

However, he said he’s enjoyed listening to feedback from fans while walking his dog – a Rhodesian Ridgeback called Sansa – around the upmarket west London streets where he lives.

Pochettino said: “If I follow social media, it’s one thing, but when I walk every day with my dog I feel … I won’t say love, but the appreciation from the fans.

“On social media, it can be, ‘Hey, you must do this, do that.’ But when I am on the street, the people are really good. They appreciate and give us credit for working in a project and process that is so difficult.

“I spend one hour, one hour and a half walking with my dog, maybe it is because they are scared of my dog – because it is a big dog.

“Maybe they are nice to me because of that!

“But fans sometimes get the image that is not real. Are fake. Maybe sometimes my words are taken or a photograph is taken of me looking sad but I am not a sad person.

Mauricio Pochettino
'Happy' Mauricio Pochettino - Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

“I laugh a lot, I smile. I am very positive. I am not acting. I try not to act. Sometimes people get the wrong idea.

“If you face me on the street you will become in love. Especially if I have my dog.

“The people who understand football know what is going on here. They appreciate our commitment, the way we behave and the way we believe and support all the decisions that were taken before we arrived.

“Now, we are involved, we are in the middle of this journey. All we want is to help and add our knowledge and experience to be more competitive and help the team win games. That is what is most important.”

06:42 PM BST

Those teams in the trad fashion

Chelsea Petrovic; Gilchrist, Chalobah, Badiashile, Cucurella; Caicedo, Gallagher; Madueke, Palmer, Mudryk; Jackson. 
Substitutes  Bettinelli, Casadei, Deivid Washington, Tauriainen, Castledine, Acheampong, George, Dyer, Sturge.

Tottenham Hotspur Vicario; Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Emerson Royal; Bissouma, Sarr; Johnson, Richarlison, Kulusevski; Son. 
Substitutes  Austin, Skipp, Hojbjerg, Dragusin, Maddison, Gil, Lo Celso, Bentancur, Moore.

Referee: Robert Jones (Wirral).

06:34 PM BST

Spurs make five changes

Out go Davies, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Maddison and Werner for Emerson Royal, Bissouma, Sarr, Johnson and Richarlison:

06:31 PM BST

One change for Chelsea

Alfie Gilchrist comes in for the injured Thiago Silva:

06:22 PM BST

Having a bet?

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06:19 PM BST

Preview: A tale of two casualty lists

Good evening and welcome to live coverage of the London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham, a rivalry that has turned even more venomous over the past 20 years. Mauricio Pochettino welcomes his old club to Stamford Bridge after a rousing second-half revival at Villa Park, a performance, if they can build on it, which can stand as a turning point in his spell as manager.

Now that we know the Premier League’s hopes of bagging a fifth Champions League place have been kiboshed by the strength of the Bundesliga, Spurs cannot afford not to win tonight as they sit seven points behind Villa in fourth with two games in hand. Ange Postecoglou’s aversion to set-piece drills may have brought scorn on him but otherwise it has been a pretty successful season in terms of uniting club and fans after the abrasive Mourinho/Conte years. He’s not as off the cuff in his approach as he kids on – his use of his full-backs as inside-forwards could never work without proper training – but he will need a solid defensive performance from his central midfielders to thwart Cole Palmer and Conor Gallagher if his side do not have long spells on the front foot.

Chelsea are only five points behind Newcastle with a game in hand and a seventh-placed finish plus a Conference League spot are not things to be sniffed at given the recruitment chaos since the takeover in the summer of 2022. Thiago Silva, who announced he is leaving in June after a four-year Indian summer at the Bridge, is out with a groin strain picked up on Saturday night and joins the legion of absentees – Raheem Sterling, Robert Sanchez, Christopher Nkunku, Ben Chilwell, Malo Gusto, Reece James, Levi Colwill,  Wesley Fofana, Romeo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu,  Enzo Fernandez and Carney Chukwuemeka. Axel Disasi faces a late fitness test, too.

For Spurs Timo Werner and Ben Davies have been ruled out for the season this week, joining Destiny Udogie, Fraser Forster, Ryan Sessegnon and Manor Solomon on the road to a 2024-25 return. Oliver Skipp may be fit enough, though, to take a place on the bench.

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