Football

Tuchel’s half-time talk and tweak change game for Chelsea

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel looked far from happy as his side were second-best during the first half of the London Derby at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, but his half-time talk and a key substitution again underlined the German's impact as the Blues won 3-0.

With the score at 0-0, Tuchel hauled off the ineffective England midfielder Mason Mount at half-time and sent on N'Golo Kante for his first action since being injured at Liverpool on Aug 28.

Kante immediately gave Chelsea control of the midfield battle and sparked a dominant second-half display which was rewarded with goals by him, Thiago Silva and Antonio Ruediger.

The victory lifted Chelsea to the top of the English Premier League, level on points with Liverpool and Manchester United.

Asked to explain the difference between his side's performance before and after the interval, Tuchel said he had spoken to his players at half-time about their attitude and intensity - both of which he demands high standards from them.

"We did not change the system, but maybe that's the whole point," he said.

"We just changed the system with more belief, more quality, sharper. We relied on skilful play in the first half and we forgot to bring the right attitude to this game.

"We had the feeling every 50/50 duel went against us and that had to change. If you have N'Golo on the bench and you want to step up these patterns of the game, he's the player you bring. The reaction was needed and we showed it. We played a very strong second half to deserve this win."

For Spurs, the sight of another poor display by striker Harry Kane will be a worry for manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Kane, who has scored 223 times for Tottenham, looked subdued. It is the first time since 2015/16 that the England striker has failed to score in his first four EPL appearances of a season. He has attempted just four shots in this season's EPL.

Nuno tried to take heart from the first half but, after back-to-back 3-0 EPL defeats, the early optimism of his reign is evaporating.

"It was tough. First half we played well and, at half-time, we were confident and we had a lot of belief," he said. "Once we went 1-0 down to a sloppy goal, it's a bit of a mountain against a team like this." - REUTERS

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