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Jose Mourinho praised Arsenal for disrupting Chelsea’s build-up play during their important 2-0 victory at the Emirates on Saturday. Goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny handed Arsenal a valuable three points to resurrect their faltering top-four hopes against a direct rival. Maurizio Sarri was heavily critical of his players after the game, openly questioning their mentality and motivation in his post-match press conference.
But Mourinho claimed that Arsenal succeeded against their London rivals by effectively shutting down Jorginho in midfield as well as cutting their supply line from the left flank. Speaking on beIN Sports, he said: ‘I’m not saying Chelsea is an easy team to play against but I think they are an easy team to analyse, you know their principles, their fundamental situations. ‘You create great difficulties to Chelsea to build in the first phase and if you close a little bit more their left side with David Luiz and Marcos Alonso and you give the ball to the right side, it is quite difficult for them.’ Sarri’s tactics have been questioned during his time in the Premier League with Rio Ferdinand criticising the Italian for playing both N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard out of position.
However, Mourinho sided with Sarri by saying he thinks Kante ‘can play everywhere’ and suggested that Aaron Ramsey’s man-marking of Jorginho was a more decisive factor in Chelsea’s defeat. ‘Kante is playing in a position where he is making more runs forward than staying in the build-up in the first phase and Arsenal managed to press them in their own pitch and create many difficulties,’ he said. ‘I think Kante can play everywhere, I think he has the qualities to be a box-to-box like Maurizio is trying with him and he’s scoring more goals than ever. ‘With Antonio Conte he was playing in a more defensive position because they were only playing with two in there but now at this moment they are playing with three and Maurizio is doing the same with Jorginho as at Napoli. ‘He likes him to drop in between the centre backs but today Ramsey is playing in that position to fundamentally to stop Jorginho playing.’