Tuchel explains decision to replace Mason Mount with Kante vs Tottenham

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he needed to bring on N’Golo Kante at the break against Tottenham in order to ‘change the momentum’ of the match.

After a quiet first-half, Chelsea sprung into life in the second against Spurs, overpowering the home team with Thiago Silva, Kante and Rudiger all getting the score sheet.

Mason Mount was substituted at half-time with the Frenchman brought onto replace him. Tuchel was unhappy with Chelsea’s first-half display and felt more intensity was needed.

‘It was a hard decision for Mason and it seemed to be a bit more defensive to go from Mason to N’Golo,’ Tuchel told Sky Sports. ‘But I wanted to give the sign from the talk (at half-time) I was not happy with the energy.

‘For me it was about winning the second balls, about duels, about sending signals to let the confidence grow through energy and ball wins, by a higher work rate and by closing players down and not being too reactive.’

Tuchel said in his press conference that he felt the introduction of Kante would bring about the changes he wanted in the team.

‘Actually we did not change the system but that is maybe the whole point. It seemed we changed the system but we just played it with more belief, more energy, more quality, sharper. It was simply too sloppy and not sharp enough in the first half.

‘We relied too much on our skilful play in the first half. We forgot to bring the right attitude and energy to this game. There were individual performances at a high level.

‘For example, Thiago Silva and Kepa. But as a team, we allowed too many chances, way too many easy ball losses, not enough ball possession, and every 50/50 duel went against us.

‘This had to change and, well, if you have N’Golo on the bench and you want to step up in these parts of the game, it’s the best player to bring on because he is unique and can change any momentum.

‘So the change appeared to be, in terms of characteristics, a bit more defensive but we wanted to improve our compactness, ball wins, and spirit as a team.

‘We wanted a higher intensity and work rate in our match to win balls actively and put the match in the opponent’s half.

‘Then we can rely on our skills, that was the idea behind it. The reaction was absolutely needed but we showed it and played a very strong second half to deserve this win.’

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