“It’s a big challenge. but don’t get confused – when I was a boy once or twice it was me pretending to be Tottenham in the garden, it was to show off more in front of my friends. Because actually I didn’t even know Tottenham were a team in London.
“It was just a fancy name and a team we could see on TV for a few minutes. Later of course with Jurgen Klinsmann and some German players there that led to a bigger focus.
“But there’s no doubt that I arrive in blue, proud to coach in blue and proud to coach my team and we will do everything to win the game.”
The words of Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel when he was asked if he was a byhood Tottenham Hotspur fan ahead of the German facing his first true test in charge by taking on their bitter north London rivals.
Tuchel came through the test with flying colours as Chelsea secured a third clean sheet in a row, two of them wins and the 0-0 draw with Wolves in his first match in charge, to re-ignite the Blues’ chase for a Champions League place.
Tuchel had his team set up spot on as he overloaded the Blues’ right hand side with Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi in tandem which left Ben Davies completely stranded.
That freed up Mason Mount to essentially have a fluid role across the pitch as a number ten but he was popping up everywhere. Tuchel will have been frustrated with the England youngsters end product in the first half though, which was poor.
Defensively, Chelsea were sound again. Antonio Rudiger was showing his recall in Frank Lampard’s final throws was no fluke and Cesar Azpiliceuta was putting himself about. The Spaniard launched into a – fair – challenge on Son on the stroke of half time that left the South Korean writhing but drew a slap on the backside from his manager in the technical area.
Thiago Silva’s loss with ten minutes of the half remaining though could be huge but Tuchel’s changes tactically and in personnel were working perfectly.