CHELSEA 3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0
CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho praised Didier Drogba after the evergreen striker proved the Blues’ supporting cast can be every bit as deadly as absent top scorer Diego Costa.
Drogba, 36, scored one and set up another for Eden Hazard as the Premier League leaders maintained their six-point gap and extended their unbeaten home run against Tottenham to 28 games.
Loic Remy, the other deputy for the suspended Costa, came off the bench to notch a fine third and delight Mourinho – though Drogba’s enduring quality took the plaudits.
“Our mentality is the right mentality: we don’t have a player, we don’t cry about it. We give confidence to others and they respond in the best way,” he said. “It’s remarkable. First of all he’s a team player. He’s one of these old-days mentality: not selfish, not vain, a humble guy, plays for the team and fights for team. Fantastic.
“When he’s on the bench and comes to play the last couple of minutes because the team needs somebody to hold the ball up he does it with the same enthusiasm and spirit as when he’s starting against Tottenham.”
Spurs defied their miserable record at Stamford Bridge to seize control early on with a high-pressing game that saw Harry Kane head against the bar and flash a shot narrowly wide.
Chelsea weathered the 20-minute storm and, with ruthless inevitability, effectively put the match to bed by skewering the visitors’ shaky defence twice in three minutes.
First Hazard, who tormented makeshift right-back Vlad Chiriches all evening, played a simple one-two with Drogba and drove a low shot that squirmed under Hugo Lloris at the near post.
Then, after Lloris had kicked straight to Hazard, Drogba easily escaped Jan Vertonghen to run onto Oscar’s through-ball and tuck past Lloris from close range. It took the introduction of Remy for Drogba to reinvigorate the contest, and the former QPR player showed guile and grit to hold off Vertonghen and slot Chelsea’s third.
Defeat checked Tottenham's recent resurgence, and manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose side lie 10th, felt the scoreline was unduly harsh.
“We started very well and made some chances to score, and after the first chance they had they score,” he said. “Then they scored the second and the game changes. This was difficult tonight.”