Football

Martin Keown: Chelsea were not aggressive, not angry enough

Chelsea paid price for lack of intensity, says former Arsenal defender Keown

Two Dele Alli headers dented Chelsea's hopes of winning a 14th consecutive English Premier League game yesterday morning (Singapore time) - which would have been a record in a single EPL campaign.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said Tottenham fully deserved their victory over a below-par Chelsea side.

"Chelsea looked a shadow of their recent selves and it seemed like they weren't playing with the same level of anger as over the last 13 games," Keown told the Daily Mail.

"Maybe life has been a bit too good for them of late. This was mostly down to the way Tottenham handled them.

TITLE RACE WIDE OPEN

"(Mauricio) Pochettino's side matched their visitors from a physical standpoint and did very well to quell any potential storm, particularly at the start of the second half.

"They kept Chelsea at bay while on the back foot before hitting back with a second goal."

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte shrugged off the defeat, insisting his players must dust themselves down and restart their Premier League title quest.

The Italian, however, said the loss was very different to the 3-0 reverse they suffered at Arsenal on Sept 24, after which they began their solid run.

"We are disappointed, but also we must be pleased for our run as 13 wins in this league is not easy," said Conte.

"But this is a different defeat to the one in September because today we lost the game, but showed that we were a team.

"Against Arsenal, we weren't a team, today we were."

Chelsea could have gone eight points clear at the top with a first victory at White Hart Lane since 2012 and, while a five-point margin over nearest rivals Liverpool is still healthy, Conte insists the title race is now wide open.

Tottenham moved up to third, seven points behind, ahead of Manchester City on goal difference while Arsenal are a point further adrift and Manchester United two further back.

"Today, we lost against a good team, a really strong team and don't forget Tottenham fought last season for the title," Conte said.

"They are improving and they are one of the six teams who can fight for the title.

"We are top of the table because we are working a lot but, for sure, this league is very tough and we must continue to work and improve. A defeat can happen against Tottenham, now it's important to restart."

Conte's side had boasted the meanest defence in the league until yesterday's defeat, so the nature of both Tottenham's goals - carbon-copy crosses and headers - was a surprise.

Tottenham have now conceded the least goals - 14 in 20 games.

"It is strange for us to concede these goals because we were defending well and they were at crucial moments," Conte said.

"At the end of the first half and then in the second half after we missed chances to score, but this can happen.

"My priority is to win again. The training doesn't change if you win or you lose. We have to continue to work."

Meanwhile, Pochettino has challenged his Tottenham side to maintain their intensity and achieve "big things" after ending Chelsea's winning run.

"Our performance showed we can be competitive and we can achieve big things," Pochettino said.

"We're happy for the victory, but it's only three points. It's only one game. We need to be regular and consistent during the whole season.

"If we want to fight until the end of the season for big things, for trophies, you need to keep that intensity. That is always the challenge." - WIRE SERVICES

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