Jose Mourinho has criticised his defenders for failing to track Alvaro Morata in the lead-up to the Spaniard’s winning goal against Manchester United.
The visitors largely kept Chelsea at bay in the first half, with Marcos Alonso spurning their best chance after David de Gea parried an Eden Hazard drive into his path.
But their positioning was nothing short of atrocious for Chelsea’s goal as Morata snuck into the space left by Phil Jones and inside Chris Smalling to power home a big goal for the champions from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, bemoaned the way his side conceded, revealing that he warned his defenders about this potential avenue of attack at half time and before the game.
“Yes especially because we spoke during the preparation and at half time,” he said. “We know the crosses from the middle and the inside and we know the sequence of movement from the striker.
“That’s exactly what we were speaking about at half time. We concede a goal in a situation that we should and could control.”
A dearth of midfield options meant that Mourinho couldn’t use Ander Herrera to man-mark Eden Hazard and, as an alternative, he devised a zonal system to minimise the Belgian’s influence instead.
The plan made sense, and it worked for large parts of the game, but it was always a strategy that could have gone haywire with just one mistake.
And, sure enough, they went to sleep at a crucial moment as Jones, too busy occupying the defensive midfield position, left acres of space in behind for Morata to punish Mourinho’s men and leave them eight points behind Manchester City.