Tottenham Hotspur, just what the doctor ordered!
The vibes were low, the mood increasingly negative, and the mentality dropping below required levels — after just one win from our last seven Premier League games had left us not only out of the title race but in danger of being drawn into a top-four scrap. The fatigue, both physical and perhaps more importantly, mental, had left us in a precarious position.
Fortunately, a third dose of Spurs this month was precisely the salve we needed to head into this pseudo-break on a high note, with a fairly comfortable gap to the chasing pack even if we assume they’d win all their matches-in-hand (which is unlikely). With our attentions set to focus on the FA Cup and the Club World Cup for most of the next month, it was particularly important to not only win tonight’s game, but to win it in as impressive of a fashion as we did.
And while Harry Kane’s goal was chalked off for perhaps a soft foul — Tuchel admitted his own surprise at the decision (“Live, I thought it was a goal and was surprised”), one of just a multitude of rather surprising decisions from the rather inept referee, to put it kindly — Chelsea dominated the match pretty much from start to finish, generating good chances, scoring a couple excellent goals (take a bow, Hakim!), and seeing things out even when the match became more fractious than it needed to be.
Gone were Chelsea’s frustrations (mostly) and bad vibes, replaced by effort, hustle, and the requisite quality when it mattered the most.
“[It was] a huge effort [...] some free days and it being a London derby helped too. When we arrived this morning I could feel everyone was excited to play it. It was physically tough, so full credit I think we deserved it.
“Very important for morale — we go into a mini break, it changes everything, the mood, the belief. We played the game we deserved. A lot of good stuff, we were patient and kept on believing and attacking in the second half. Now we try to breathe a little bit.
“The message at half-time was keep on pushing, keep on investing, put in the same effort. Not a lot of information, encouragement to keep on going.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC
It was not a perfect performance, but it was more than good enough — individually, collectively, tactically. Too bad we can’t play Spurs every week.
The vast majority of the squad get to indeed take a breather and recharge for the push for trophies for the rest of the season. The league may be out of reach, but there’s a ton of silverware that can be won still.
And as we approach exactly one year of Tuchel in charge, we can take a moment to celebrate our achievements over the past 12 months and look forward to the next 12.
“A good year, a nice year. I feel very good because it feels still like the first day, nothing has changed, it is exactly the right place to be. I feel an enormous amount of support - hopefully many more years to come.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Sky via BBC
So say we all.