Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho criticised referee Andre Marriner’s performance after his side lost at home to Chelsea, who continued their unbeaten start under new boss Thomas Tuchel and moved into the Premier League’s top six.
Jorginho’s first-half penalty, awarded after Eric Dier clumsily upended Timo Werner, gave the Blues a win their more progressive approach deserved against a Spurs side devoid of ideas and ambition until it was too late.
But Mourinho, who talked to Marriner at length as they walked off the pitch on Thursday, said: “I consider him one of the best referees in the Premier League. I care for him and one I have big admiration for him. That gives me a good position to tell him I did not like his performance.
“In the end a penalty decides the game. In the end they score a penalty which is not a penalty where you say it is a dangerous situation, one on one, almost scoring.
“It’s a penalty that is difficult to accept and to lose the game like this is a bit painful.”
Tuchel has now enjoyed two wins and a draw, without conceding a goal, since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard, and while the animated German occasionally displayed signs of frustration in his technical area, this was ultimately a satisfying outcome.
“The whole first half we totally controlled the game,” said Tuchel. “Maybe we lost confidence in the second half because we lost the ball possession.
“A bit more killer instinct and more aggression in the box would have been nice. It was a big win in an away game and I am very happy.”
In contrast, it was a third successive defeat in a dismal sequence for Tottenham and Mourinho, as they were punished for a desperately negative gameplan which, shorn of main marksman Harry Kane, barely gave Chelsea an anxious moment until Carlos Vinicius headed Serge Aurier’s cross wide at the far post when unmarked late on.
Tuchel has wasted no time in laying down his demands to Chelsea’s players and his presence on the touchline certainly galvanizes them into action.
He was on the move throughout this win, constantly expressing pleasure and discontent, on one occasion shouting “yes” and applauding his side vigorously after bellowing “go, go” to order Chelsea to pressurize Spurs.
It is early days but Tuchel has got Chelsea playing at a faster pace and the right-sided combination of Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi is clearly something he feels has promise.
In reality, this was a relatively comfortable night for the Blues, despite losing the experienced Thiago Silva with a hamstring injury in the first half.
All in all, this was a pleasing night for Tuchel and his new charges.
Mourhino’s side looked desperately short of threat without the injured Kane, with even Son Heung-min struggling as he received little support or service.
Kane’s absence would strip any team of an edge of menace but it was also Mourinho’s no-risk strategy that let Tuchel’s side benefit for most of the game.
Late rally aside, particularly Vinicius’ miss, this was a grim evening for Spurs their manager.
Tottenham manager Mourinho told BBC Sport: “We had a great chance by Vinicius. We can analyse the game from the first to the last minute. If you want to be pragmatic – one penalty, one goal, 1-0.
“When a team is in a difficult game against Chelsea, you concede that penalty and are affected by it. By the end of the the first half I saw a team that was struggling, but it was totally the opposite in the second half.
“We miss a lot of important players but the spirit in the second half is untouchable.
“We don’t like it [the form] but the way we finished the game gives me positive feelings. It is not that that stops the defensive mistakes but it gives us a difficult smile on the face, to stick together and go tomorrow.
“Hopefully, next week, Harry Kane will be back, but not any of the others. We play Sunday against West Brom and they need points as much as us for different reasons.”
Chelsea boss Tuchel said: “We are super happy about the result. It was a tough game against a strong opponent but we did very well and controlled the game well.
“It was a good first half. In the second half, we lost more of the possession and the distances in the passing were too long.
“If you play against a quality team you have to accept there are moments you have to suffer. We defended very actively and brave. We were looking for a second goal desperately as that would have killed the game.
“I’m happy with the spirit and the attitude in defending. A very solid team performance and a deserved win.
“It’s not about my methods. I’m happy with the attitude, the squad, the potential. They are fine guys – it’s a nice group and they are open. It’s a pleasure to be around them. We have a lot of support in the whole club. It was a quick start but an easy one because I feel very welcome.”
On Silva going off injured: “I saw Thiago with a big strap around his muscle, but we have to wait. It’s worrying because it’s a muscle injury.”
Tottenham host West Bromwich Albion in the league on Sunday (12:00 GMT), before Chelsea play at Sheffield United later on the same day (19:15).