Mauricio Pochettino hails Chelsea's 'amazing professionals' as Tottenham set-piece problem exposed again

Mauricio Pochettino hails Chelsea's 'amazing professionals' as Tottenham set-piece problem exposed again

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed the “amazing professionals” who work on the team’s set-pieces.

The build-up to the Blues hosting London rivals Tottenham had been dominated by discussion about that aspect of the game.

Spurs have struggled with defending them for much of the campaign but manager Ange Postecoglou insisted they are not the only root of his team’s problems.

Postecoglou has even brushed aside talk of employing a specialised set-piece coach despite the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool enjoying success from that particular avenue.

Only the Premier League’s bottom three and Nottingham Forest have conceded more than Spurs from dead-ball situations this season.

Chelsea beat Spurs 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night thanks to goals from free-kicks. Trevoh Chalobah opened the scoring with a fine header from Conor Gallager’s floated cross before Nicolas Jackson nodded in the rebound following Cole Palmer’s thunderous strike.

"We are in a good place, we have amazing professionals working on set-pieces,” said Pochettino.

“The team really showed in the way we wanted to build this way to play."

He did, however, deny that Chelsea specifically targeted that area of Tottenham’s game.

“If you analyse all of the teams, all the teams we concede [against] and all the teams we score against from set-pieces,” he added.

“It is about confidence and the situation that because if you like the statistics, you can see teams score a lot of goals in one season from set-pieces and the next season they didn't score and they have the same people working, the same coaching staff.

"Look, that is a debate I agree with Ange about. He was talking yesterday [Wednesday]. There is so much confusion and it affects the people who make the decisions in the club."

The result means Chelsea are alive in the race for European qualification. They are now only three points behind Manchester United in sixth and just two behind seventh-placed Newcastle.

Spurs, meanwhile, have a mountain to climb in pursuit of Champions League qualification. Aston Villa in fourth boast a seven-point lead, albeit Postecoglou’s side do have a game in hand.