On a night when Thomas Tuchel tactically outmanoeuvred Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, it was Mason Mount who took on the key 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, once out on the pitch, they dropped Mount into a number 10 role with Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi paired as two strikers.
“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 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 utilized 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.