EPL

'A lot of things went wrong' in Spurs defeat but Nuno feels first half set the standard

By Sports Desk September 19, 2021

Nuno Espirito Santo was keen to focus on a positive first half against Chelsea after Tottenham collapsed following the interval, when "there were a lot of things that went wrong".

For the second week in a row, Spurs lost 3-0 to London rivals in the Premier League, although they were initially more impressive against Chelsea than they had been at Crystal Palace.

The out-of-sorts European champions reached the interval with the game still goalless, however, and the introduction of N'Golo Kante then changed the game.

He scored Chelsea's second goal via a huge deflection after Thiago Silva had become the club's second-oldest goalscorer in the competition. The 36-year-old trails only Didier Drogba (37 in 2015) in that regard.

Antonio Rudiger blasted in a late third, as Chelsea had 14 second-half shots, including 10 on target. Tottenham mustered just two and one respectively.

"There were a lot of things that went wrong," Spurs coach Nuno told BBC Sport.

"Let's start with the first half – I think it was a good game, competitive. We were on the the front foot, started pressing high, creating problems and had chances.

"In the second half, the set-piece and goal changes the game. Then it becomes much harder, the game totally changed and Chelsea took control and were the better team in the second half.

"It's difficult, but I'm proud of the first half and of all the game because we had troubles in the team and the players went to their limits."

Spurs had 14 pressed sequences on Sunday, having averaged 10.3 per game so far this season, as they adopted a far more aggressive approach before half-time.

That subsided in the second period, in which Chelsea dominated 57.7 per cent of the possession, but Nuno repeatedly preferred to highlight his side's early work across his media duties.

The former Wolves boss described Tottenham as "fantastic" in that spell to Sky Sports, adding: "The first 45 minutes was huge for us. Now we have to sustain this level over the whole game."

Nuno then told a news conference: "[It was a] very good first half, very good. We competed really well, we played good football, we pressed high.

"So, we have the awareness that we have a lot of things we need to improve, but the awareness of the first half must stick with us so we can build on it."

He added: "If there's only one positive today, that was the first half."

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