Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was impressed with the way his Chelsea side reacted to some half-time home truths by blowing Tottenham away in a 3-0 London derby victory on Sunday evening in a Premier League meeting.
The Blues were far from their best in the first half and on the back foot at Tottenham Stadium after emotional pre-match tributes to Spurs, Chelsea, and England legend Jimmy Greaves, who died at the age of 81 on Sunday.
Tuchel’s side only registered one shot on target in the opening 45 minutes compared to Spurs two and Tottenham showed more intensity before Tuchel made his side well aware they must raise their game at the break.
The outstanding Thiago Silva headed the European champions in front four minutes into the second half and a deflected strike from halftime substitute N’Golo Kante, who replaced Mason Mount, doubled their lead.
Spurs had no answer to the Blues and Antonio Rudiger inflicted more pain on their wound by drilling home in stoppage time as Tuchel’s men went top of the Premier League on goal difference.
Tuchel says Chelsea’s first-half display was unacceptable but he was pleased with the manner in which they took control following the interval.
Asked if it was a game of two halves, he told Premier League official broadcaster Sky Sports: “Yes it was, you’re absolutely right. I was absolutely not happy with the first 45 minutes.
“There were individual performances which were great in the first half from Kepa [Arrizabalaga] and Thiago Silva. Even more, players were good but in general, we lacked intent and energy in duels and 50-50 balls.
“I had the feeling we wanted to impress by pure skills but in derbies like this, it is not always about just skills. It is about aggression, winning duels, and performing better as a team.
“We spoke clearly about it at half-time. In the second half, it was a very good performance and a deserved win in the second half. It was a very good reaction so I am happy with the performance in the second half.”
Chelsea defender and goalscorer Anthony Rudiger was late getting into the stadium after experiencing some technical difficulties with the coronavirus pass on his phone, and Tuchel felt that summed up Chelsea’s first-half performance.
He said: “I was not concerned but it is strange when your player arrives late. He had some [coronavirus] passport issues. It was like this in the first half. We were there but not fully there. I was glad we were able to overcome these situations.
“We are competitive and we want to be competitive. It is no excuse to say we are not ready. We want to produce results and we can. It’s what we want at the club.
“We want to win. We are competitive in this level to win already but we still have things to improve. The first half was proof of that.
“It’s good to have these hard situations now and to overcome them. We are able to produce deserved wins so it’s a good basis to keep ongoing.”
Tuchel was speaking to the press after the match in a post-match conference. His side now sits top of the Premier League table on goal difference having the same points as Liverpool and Manchester United who sit second and third respectively.
Chelsea will be back in action on Wednesday when they host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge for an EFL Carabao Cup meeting before hosting League Champions Manchester City on Saturday in a Premier League early kick-off fixture.