Tottenham end Sarri’s unbeaten start at Chelsea with stunning 3-1 victory
Victory saw Spurs close back to within five points of leaders Manchester City and three points of second-placed Liverpool.Updated: Nov 25, 2018 10:39 IST
Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham are capable of “big things” this season if they consistently reach the heights of a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Wembley that barely reflected Spurs’ dominance.
By inflicting Maurizio Sarri’s first competitive defeat as Chelsea boss to move above their London rivals into third in the Premier League, Tottenham couldn’t have started a big week in better fashion with a do-or-die Champions League clash with Inter Milan and the North London derby against Arsenal to come.
“We need to be humble and recognise playing like this we can do big things,” said Pochettino.
“Our challenge is to keep going and be consistent. That’s our challenge for the rest of the season.”
Victory saw Spurs close back to within five points of leaders Manchester City and three points of second-placed Liverpool.
A title challenge is likely to be beyond Pochettino’s men given the relentless pace being set by City, but just qualifying for the Champions League for a fourth straight season would be seen as success given the upheaval as the club wait to move into their stadium and a host of injuries to players involved at the World Cup.
Dele Alli is one of nine players in Pochettino’s squad to have suffered a muscle injury after his exertions in Russia, but back fit and close to his best, the England international headed Spurs in front from Christian Eriksen’s free-kick.
“Chelsea are a top side and they have made some great signings but we are a top side ourselves,” said Alli.
“At 2-0 we could have sat back but we didn’t. We created a lot of chances - maybe on another day if we had been more clinical we could have scored more.”
Chelsea ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could have done better as he got a hand to Alli’s header and the world’s most expensive goalkeeper was questioned again as he stood motionless and Harry Kane drilled home from long range to give Spurs a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes.
The visitors felt aggrieved as they could have had a penalty seconds before Kane’s goal when Juan Foyth appeared to trip Eden Hazard inside the area.
However, they could have no complaints as an 18-game unbeaten run in all competitions since the Community Shield in August was comprehensively ended.
“I think we played very badly in all directions - physically, mentally, technically and tactically,” said Sarri.
“I knew we had some problems and with this performance today it was clear to everybody we have problems to solve.
“I think in the last three or four matches we have started not really very well.”
Spurs’ solitary second-half goal was delivered in style by Son as he accelerated past Jorginho and David Luiz before slotting his 50th goal for the club into the far corner.
Kane then somehow fired over with the goal at his mercy and Alli also skewed a great chance off target as Sarri bellowed at his side to regain some composure.
The Italian managed to make a difference with the introduction of Ross Barkley, Pedro Rodriguez and Giroud from the bench.
And it was Giroud who grabbed Chelsea’s consolation five minutes from time when he powered home Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross at the back post.
First Published: Nov 25, 2018 10:39 IST