Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham: How Stamford Bridge reacted to Antonio Conte’s return as Spurs boss
Former Tottenham manager Antonio Conte took his Tottenham side to Stamford Bridge but they were well beaten.
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Kai Havertz gave the hosts an early lead, before a comedy of errors culminated in defender Japhet Tanganga heading the ball against Ben Davies, with the Welsh defender helplessly directing it into the net.
Chelsea totally deserved the win, and the only regret might be that they did not score enough goals to make the second leg a walk in the park.
Tottenham haven’t won a major trophy since 2008, and will now have to produce a memorable performance next week if they are to reach the final of this year’s EFL Cup final.
Stamford Bridge’s reaction to the Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte won the league and FA Cup in two glorious years as Chelsea manager, and even though it cost the Blues around £26 million in damages he’d have expected the crowd to acknowledge his presence on the touchline.
What he got was absolute silence, before the fans chanted the name of the current manager Thomas Tuchel.
It’s fair to say that the loyalties of football fans are always to the man in the dugout.
Even when the Tottenham fans tried to sing the usual “Antonio Antonio”, Chelsea fans would immediately respond with their own “If you ain’t Tottenham stand up, if you ain’t Tottenham stand up” to drown out their noise.
In response, the Italian remained calm and surprisingly quiet on the touchline, perhaps the early Chelsea goal and the emotions of returning to a place he enjoyed got the better of him.
What Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel said after the game
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who made the big call to bring back Romelu Lukaku and revert to a back four for the first time this season, heaped praise on his team.
But he added the tie was still alive and Chelsea needed to be ready for the second leg.
Tuchel said: “We played 4-4-2 when we had the ball, because there were no five left that play in a back five.
“After Thiago [Silva] tested positive yesterday we took the decision, the chance to inform the team that maybe this was the solution for today.
“We had some moments in defending where we created a back five, because we did not want the overload on the side with their wing-backs.
“We play also with a back five so we know that it is difficult to defend in a four.
“The team was very focused, very open minded.
“It was a real quality game and we did not allow chances against the front three of them.”
While Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, whose side was second best all night, said Spurs lost to a better side.
He added: “It’s not easy to play at Stamford Bridge.
“They were very concentrated from the first minutes, they won the ball every time and then we conceded an unlucky goal.
“But when you start the game after minutes and they score the game becomes very difficult.
“But I know the situation and its very clear, there is an important gap with important teams.
“We have to fight to stay in the league in a good position and i think we are close to wining but not in the right way.
“If you compare the two teams there is no comparison, they are a team ready to win . Today we have seen the difference between the two teams.”