Antonio Conte gets the better of Jose Mourinho as Chelsea beat Man United

Aditya Devavrat 00:45 06/11/2017
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Chelsea welcomed Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday in the midst of a mini-crisis, having suffered a 3-0 defeat against Roma earlier in the week in Champions League that left manager Antonio Conte under severe pressure.

United seemed to have steadied the ship last week after a mini-slump of their own by beating Spurs, and then winning their Champions League fixture, so Jose Mourinho definitely came into this game as the happier of the two managers.

But it was Chelsea who put in the superior team and won thanks to a superb Alvaro Morata goal. It leaves United still in second place but now eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, with Chelsea now just a point behind United.

Here we analyse the two managers’ performance in this pivotal game.



Shots – 18

Shots on target – 8

Pass success – 79%

Aerial duel success – 48%

Dribbles won – 10

Tackles – 15

Possession – 54%

Conte was in the mood to celebrate on Sunday.

Conte was in the mood to celebrate on Sunday.


Shots – 10

Shots on target – 2

Pass success – 76%

Aerial duel success – 52%

Dribbles won – 4

Tackles – 13

Possession – 46%

Mourinho's team failed to rise to the occasion.

Mourinho’s team failed to rise to the occasion.



Conte switched from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2, opting to reinforce Chelsea’s midfield. It was an understandable decision, even with N’Golo Kante returning, as the three-man midfield of Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Cesc Fabregas offered the right balance between attack and defence.

The big call was to drop David Luiz, who has struggled in defence recently – although the decision was probably largely due to an injury. In place of the veteran Brazilian, Conte brought in Andreas Christensen, and the young defender repaid the manager’s faith in him with a solid performance.

Conte’s selection, formation and style worked, especially with the license it gave Chelsea’s defenders to join the attack, which is what led to the Blues’ goal – Cesar Azpilicueta, restored to his centre-back role, stepping forward to provide the cross for Morata’s winner.

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League

Conte’s tactics worked perfectly.


Mourinho opted to match Conte’s Chelsea formation to start off with, also setting up United in a 3-5-2. The formation kept Chelsea at bay in the first half, but in the second half, the hopes turned up the pressure and United couldn’t cope.

Once they went behind, Mourinho brought on Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial, but that wasn’t enough to get a goal as Chelsea’s rearguard held off United with relative ease.

Try as he could, Mourinho couldn't coax an improvement out of his team.

Try as he could, Mourinho couldn’t coax an improvement out of his team.



Conte rarely betrayed the pressure he must be feeling, as he was the animated Chelsea manager we’ve all become used to seeing, rather than the stressed, stalking figure who’s been more familiar in recent games – although even that version is fairly animated in expressing his frustration. On Sunday, his emotions were bared for all to see, as he lived every moment with his team and celebrated Morata’s goal with typical flair.

Conte's tactics worked perfectly.

Conte was his usual animated himself on the touchline.


The combative Mourinho actually wasn’t wearing his trademark scowl, as he tried to urge his team on in search of a crucial result. He was visibly disappointed with the defensive breakdown that led to Chelsea’s goal, but other than that he was a much more positive presence than what would be expected.



Conte would have expected a response from his side, and he got one. For perhaps only the second time this season, after the win against Tottenham, Chelsea played like the reigning champions they are, looking composed and in control of the game even when it was 0-0.

In the end, it was Conte celebrating a crucial result.

In the end, it was Conte celebrating a crucial result.


Mourinho paid no notice to the critics and set his side up to be compact and contain the opposition, offering very little in attack. Chelsea created more chances and deserved the win and United didn’t capitalise on the few that came their way. It’s up to the manager to rouse his team and renew the fight for the league title, with Manchester City now eight points ahead.

Mourinho's United are now eight points behind league leaders Manchester City.

Mourinho’s United are now eight points behind league leaders Manchester City.


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