London, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- Chelsea vaulted to sixth place in the Premier League on Thursday with a 0-1 victory against a Tottenham Hotspur side desperately missing injured striker Harry Kane.
The narrow margin understates the dominance of the Blues, who should have been able to translate their nearly 60 percent possession into more goals.
Even so, Chelsea kept a clean sheet for the third time in three outings under new coach Thomas Tuchel, while Spurs suffered a third consecutive Premier League defeat.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho deployed his men in a 4-2-3-1 with Carlos Vinicius as the lone striker, yet the new formation failed to compensate for the absence of Kane and the hosts never put any real pressure on the opposing goal.
Chelsea, however, suffered from a lack of quality in the final third and the contest might have ended in a scoreless draw if not for a clumsy foul by Eric Dier against Timo Werner in the 23rd minute.
The defender found himself on the turf after an initial challenge and then stuck out his leg, tripping the German.
Referee Andre Marriner immediately signaled penalty and Jorginho converted from the spot.
The Brazil-born Italian international, who saw former coach Frank Lampard exclude him as penalty-taker after a series of failed attempts marked by unorthodox technique, eschewed the fancy footwork on this occasion.
Spurs made a late charge in search of an equalizer, created four chances in the final seven minutes of regulation plus stoppage time.
Late sub Lucas Moura sent a ball into the stands in the 86th minute and Vinicius missed on a header seconds later. Then came a foul by Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta against Heung-min Son to set up a free kick just outside the area that Dier struck wide of the post.
Son fired over the cross-bar on Tottenham’s final possession.
Chelsea improve to 36 points, the same as seventh-place Everton but with a better goal difference. Spurs slip to eighth on 33 points.
“I would like a bit more killer instinct, a bit more aggression in the box towards the goal. There were chances where we lacked a bit of determination. But it’s best if we have something to improve yet we still win,” Tuchel said afterward.
Mourinho, meanwhile, focused on the penalty.
“We didn’t have the ball, correct. We didn’t create in the first half, correct. But the struggle is the penalty that decides the game. A couple of chances they had, a couple of chances we had. In the end the penalty is not a penalty that you say, dangerous situation, one on one, almost scoring; it is just a penalty that is difficult to accept, so if you lose the game with a penalty like this, it is a bit painful,” the losing manager said.