Sarri calls Chelsea’s de­feat ‘a dis­as­ter’

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - Sam Wal­lace CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER at Wem­b­ley

It was the mod­ern Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur shot through with Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s rebel spirit that has seen them crash the Eng­lish game’s elite which turned up at Wem­b­ley, and did not so much gen­tly snap Chelsea’s un­beaten start as bull­doze it into the ground.

All the good parts of Po­chet­tino-era Spurs were in ev­i­dence, dis­rupt­ing the Chelsea sys­tem, pluck­ing at the in­se­cu­ri­ties of David Luiz and then pick­ing their vis­i­tors off with a first-half goalscor­ing ruth­less­ness. They might have had many more if Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son He­ung-min had taken their chances, but then those that they did con­vert were glo­ri­ous.

This was one of those days when ev­ery­thing thrown at Po­chet­tino – the ex­tended Wem­b­ley ex­ile, the great trans­fer win­dow non-event – seemed to mat­ter not a bit and his side played like ti­tle con­tenders. The Ar­gen­tinian showed up af­ter­wards full of faux modesty, tut­ting away at the sug­ges­tions he had bested Mau­r­izio Sarri in or­gan­i­sa­tion and in­stead redi­rect­ing all credit to­wards his play­ers.

But he did have one mes­sage for them as he re­flected on a run of five straight wins in all com­pe­ti­tions that sees them sit­ting third be­hind the un­beaten Man­ches­ter City and Liver­pool. “With the right at­ti­tude we need to re­alise we are a team who can com­pete at this level,” he said. “The prob­lem is when we strug­gle to show the real qual­ity be­cause of a lack of ag­gres­sion and the right at­ti­tude and then it is dif­fi­cult to per­form the way we did to­day.”

Not much wrong with this per­for­mance, save a late headed goal from the sub­sti­tute Olivier Giroud, af­ter Spurs had missed a cou­ple of se­cond-half op­por­tu­ni­ties. Sarri said later that Po­chet­tino had caught him out with a tweaked for­ma­tion that had Kane and Chris­tian Erik­sen play­ing ahead of Alli, all partly re­spon­si­ble for a Chelsea de­fen­sive per­for­mance that the Ital­ian de­scribed bluntly as “a com­plete dis­as­ter”.

The Spurs man­ager was not pre­pared to en­ter­tain dis­cus­sion of his team’s ef­fec­tive nul­li­fy­ing of Chelsea’s best parts, in­clud­ing the close at­ten­tion given by Alli to Jorginho. The high point was un­ques­tion­ably Son’s goal, Spurs’ third, where he went past Jorginho and then Luiz, who bought the de­ceit in the at­tacker’s feint.

Luiz also seemed to get out of the way of the shot for Kane’s goal, in the man­ner of a line judge evad­ing the big ace, and Sarri char­i­ta­bly sug­gested that his de­fender was try­ing to avoid putting a de­flec­tion on it. When it goes badly for Luiz, it does so in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion, but at least he could say he did not hide away. He and An­to­nio Rudi­ger suf­fered at times but they might also point to the lack of trac­tion gained by Wil­lian and Al­varo Mo­rata in at­tack.

In the fi­nal min­utes, Chelsea had to en­dure the in­dig­nity of Erik Lamela in­tro­duc­ing some late en­ter­tain­ment, brush­ing his foot over the ball, drop­ping a shoul­der and gen­er­ally tak­ing what­ever lib­er­ties he could. The away side should have had a penalty between the first two Spurs goals when the young Ar­gen­tine de­fender, Juan Foyth, crashed into Eden Haz­ard in the area and although he es­caped, Sarri was re­luc­tant to say that it would have changed the course of the game.

Po­chet­tino rested Jan Ver­tonghen, pre­sum­ably with Wed­nes­day’s Cham­pi­ons League group game against In­ter Mi­lan at Wem­b­ley in mind, which Spurs must win. This win­ning run now stretches five games, back to that de­feat to Man­ches­ter City at Wem­b­ley on Oct 29, and it has given them mo­men­tum to take into Wed­nes­day and then the derby against Arse­nal next Sun­day.

There were some marvel­lous mo­ments from Spurs in the first half and not just in the two goals. From a long ball hit quickly over the top by Alli, there was a feath­ered touch from Son to stun and then spirit pos­ses­sion away from Luiz. Spurs cut their op­po­si­tion into pieces all over the at­tack­ing third, between Alli, Erik­sen and Son.

Then there was Kane, who scored the se­cond, a shot taken way ear­lier than ex­pected when in­stinct told him that there was a chan­nel run­ning be­hind Luiz and in­side Kepa Ar­riz­a­bal­aga’s right post and the Eng­land cap­tain went for it. Luiz swayed out of the way and the ball was in.

The first goal was a free-kick from the right per­fectly placed by Erik­sen for Alli to glance past Ar­riz­a­bal­aga. Spurs dis­rupted Chelsea all over the pitch, in­clud­ing N’Golo Kante, who was ha­rassed in pos­ses­sion at all times.

The third goal was a de­light for Spurs, with Son be­gin­ning out on the right, go­ing first past Jorginho and then Luiz, whose con­fi­dent sense of mis­judge­ment never seemed stronger.

This was ex­hil­a­rat­ing stuff from Spurs and the home fans loved it. Sarri beck­oned the dis­mal Mo­rata to come off and also Ma­teo Ko­vacic, whose rabona straight to Alli had been one of the first half ’s low points for Chelsea.

Spurs man­aged the game from there, although they had a wob­ble when Giroud rose to meet Ce­sar Azpilicueta’s cross to head past Hugo Lloris.

Luiz got out of the way of Kane’s shot in the man­ner of a line judge evad­ing an ace

Su­perb run: Son He­ung-min adds a third goal for Tot­ten­ham in the se­cond half

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.