Mourinho praises Spurs' changed mentality after Chelsea stalemate

Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - November 29, 2020 Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho reacts Pool via REUTERS/Justin Tallis

LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho knows better than most the value of grinding out points in away games against direct rivals so while his reaction to his Tottenham Hotspur side's 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Sunday was subdued, inside he would have been delighted.

Spurs did not have an attempt on target in the second half at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League derby, but they were disciplined and tough to break down as they claimed a point from a fixture that has so often been unkind to them.

While fans may question the entertainment value, and the fact Gareth Bale was left on the bench, the draw was enough to put Tottenham back into top spot on goal difference above champions Liverpool, with Chelsea two points behind in third.

"The one thing I take from the game is that a draw in here normally is a positive result," said Mourinho, whose side are unbeaten in the league since the opening-day defeat by Everton and have kept three successive clean sheets.

"To stay top of the league with that result is also a positive thing. The best thing I take from the game is that the dressing room is not happy, we are not happy. That for me is fantastic, it's a complete change of mentality.

"We didn't have many chances but how many did they have? Nobody gambled," he added.

Tottenham looked more threatening in the first half as they played on the counter-attack, but Chelsea dominated the ball after the break, without ever really opening up the visitors.

Mourinho, who won three league titles in two stints at Chelsea, has vowed to turn Spurs into winners, injecting more pragmatism into a team that threatened to win trophies under predecessor Mauricio Pochettino but never delivered any.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said the Portuguese coach would have been delighted with the way his side earned their point, having lost both league games to Chelsea last season.

"I imagine Jose said at halftime, 'Let's get a point by hook or by crook'" Redknapp said. "They beat Manchester City last week, now they get a point at a vibrant Chelsea side. It's not pretty but he is trying to turn this Spurs team into winners."

In his post-match news conference Mourinho downplayed Tottenham's chances of landing a first league title since 1961.

"We're not even in the (title) race so we're not a horse. We're a pony," he said, although few will be fooled.

His opposite number Frank Lampard said he was delighted with the way his teame had coped with Tottenham's counter-attacking threat, even if he was disappointed they had not claimed the win that would have sent them to the top of the table.

"I thought we dominated big parts of the game. We almost gifted them a goal. It's hard to break down when Spurs defend with the low block," he said. "We had to make sure we didn't get caught on the counter, and I thought that part was brilliant."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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