Thomas Tuchel was as upset as you’d think with Chelsea’s first half, a performance that led him to take off mainstay Mason Mount in favor of N’Golo Kante.
And it worked as the message was received and the Blues toppled Tottenham 3-0 on the half of second-frame goals from Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante, and Antonio Rudiger.
“It was a like a half-decision for Mason and it seemed to be a bit more defensive to N’Golo but I wanted to give the sign from that it wasn’t about spaces, but about duels and sending signals and growing my confidence by energy and ball wins, higher work rate,” Tuchel said.
“I was absolutely not happy with the first 45 minutes. There were individual performances that were already great like Kepa and Thiago. More players were good but we lacked intent and energy and to be more relentless in the duels, to decide 50/50 balls for us. I had the feeling we had to impress with skills but in the Premier League it’s aggression and performing better as a team. We spoke clearly about it at halftime and second half was a very good reaction and well-deserved win.”
Tuchel said he’s obviously happy for the spirit to turn around the game, but he’s happier because the Blues are getting wins out of unspectacular early-season performances.
The Blues will be better later, Tuchel said, but for now there’s nothing he dislikes that won’t be explained away by a team still coming together (even if they are the reigning European Cup champions).
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“We are competitive and we want to be competitive,” Tuchel said. “It’s not an excuse to say we’re not ready yet. We still can produce results but we want to win and we want to expect more from ourselves. we still have things to improve. It’s not a bad thing. It’s good to have these hard situations now and to overcome them because we are still able to produce deserved wins.”