Thomas Tuchel has revealed that he was unhappy with Chelsea’s first half performance against Tottenham and demanded that they showed more intensity in the second period.
The Blues boss withdrew Mason Mount at the break and has made clear that he was furious with his players.
A tense and cagey first half involved Chelsea failing to have a single shot on target. It was the first time that had happened since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January.
But the German’s side were far superior in the second period. The excellent Thiago Silva headed in from a corner within two minutes of the second half starting and N’Golo Kante scored 10 minutes later.
The Frenchman’s strike took a huge deflection off Eric Dier before rolling into the net via the post.
Antonio Rudiger struck a third in added-time but Chelsea could have had a couple more goals. Romelu Lukaku twice attempted to play in Timo Werner when he should have shot himself.
“It was a hard decision for Mason and seemed a bit more defensive to go from Mason to N’Golo. I wanted to give the sign from the talk that I was not happy with the energy,” Tuchel told Sky Sports.
“I was not ready to talk about the spaces here and the spaces there. It was about winning duels and about sending signals. I wanted our confidence to grow with energy and with ball wins and by higher work rate and by closing players down. We were too reactive.
“That was the signal of the talk [in the dressing room].”
Asked if the second half performance was far different to the opening period’s display, Tuchel continued: “It was, you are right. Me personally, I was absolutely not happy with the first 45 minutes.
“There were individual performance which were already great – like Kepa [Arrizabalaga], Thiago [Silva]. That was the first half. Even more players were just… good.
“In general, we lacked intent and we lacked energy. We lacked [the ability] to be more relentless in the duels and to win 50-50 balls for us.
“I had the feeling that we wanted to win by pure skills. But in a game like this in the Premier League, in a derby and against Tottenham, it is not only about skilful play.
“It is about aggression and it is about winning duels. We didn’t perform as a team. We lacked energy and we spoke clearly about it at half-time.
“The second half was a very good performance. It was a very good win in the second half. It was a very good reaction and I was absolutely delighted with the performance in the second half.”
According to ESPN, Tuchel was ‘visibly frustrated’ by midfielder Mount’s performance in the first half. The 22-year-old scuppered one counter-attack when his pass to Lukaku was behind the Belgian striker.