Jose Mourinho has suggested Chelsea lack the pragmatism required to beat the top teams in the Premier League this season.
The former Chelsea boss praised the work Frank Lampard was doing at the club but suggested they needed to show they could be less open in order to beat the top sides in the English top-flight.
Do Chelsea lack pragmatism?: Five things to know…
- Chelsea currently sit third in the Premier League table.
- They have won their last six games in the top-flight.
- But they have lost to Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
- The Blues have also conceded 17 times season, more than the likes of Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Wolves.
- Jose Mourinho believes they lack the pragmatism to beat the big teams.
Chelsea beat Crystal Palace at the weekend to make it six straight wins in the Premier League and move third in the table ahead of Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City despite having to deal with a transfer embargo.
Lampard has overseen the use of a lot of young players during the current campaign yet the Blues are still looking like they can challenge at the top of the league.
They are yet to beat one of the ‘big six’ sides this season, losing to Man United in the league and Carabao Cup while being beaten by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
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After their win over Crystal Palace former Chelsea manager Mourinho praised the work Lampard was doing with his young squad but questioned whether they have the pragmatism required to beat the top teams.
“In the first weekend I was worried and I’m still worried with the big matches,” he told Sky Sports after the game.
“I think fantastic work the kids that are coming to the team, they’re fitting amazingly well with top-class players like Willian, [N’Golo] Kante.
“I think really, really great work by Frank but they lost twice against United, they lost against Liverpool at home, they conceded four goals against Ajax and I am very, very curious to see Chelsea in the next match at the Etihad.
“I am curious to see if they have found that great empathy between the great football they play and the pragmatism that the top teams must have especially to play against the top teams.
“When they find that I think they have a great team for the future. I don’t believe in them to finish top two but I believe very seriously they will finish top four.”
Reece James the latest youngster to impress for Chelsea
Since Lampard took over in the dugout at Chelsea plenty of plaudits have been sent the way of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham but in the weekend’s victory over Palace, it was full-back Reece James who caught the eye.
Facing up against Wilfried Zaha, the 19-year-old put in an excellent display and helped the Blues to another important win while keeping only their third clean sheet of the season.
During the game, only N’Golo Kante made more interceptions (3) than James (2) and former England striker Darren Bent described him as being as good as Liverpool’s much-lauded Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“I’m such a big fan of this kid, it’s crazy,” he said.
“The unfortunate thing is that the person who plays in the same position as him is the captain, but you can tell Lampard is desperate to get him in now and play him because he’s ready to go.
“You look at his technical ability on the ball, I think he’s just as good as Trent (Alexander-Arnold).
“His passing and distribution is just as good. He’s a big powerful kid as well, he’s not slight, he’s strong, he’s built, he’s massive.
“I think that right-back position for England at the moment is unbelievable. It’s going to be some fight over the next 10 years for that position.
“But as far as Chelsea go, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, they’re all young and they’re all playing really well.
“It’s a really exciting time to be a Chelsea fan.”