Talk us through your thinking at half time in changing Mason Mount for N’Golo Kante and the system?
“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.”
Can you just explain what the problem with Edouard Mendy is?
“We tried throughout the week and yesterday in training it was so-so. It comes from the last-minute kick against Zenit in the Champions League. It is very painful and did not feel 100% comfortable going for a full stretch or to land on it. He didn’t feel comfortable at fight at set-pieces or corners.
“So we decided to go with 100% and that was Kepa and have Edou with us to be supportive and have good energy. I’m happy Kepa a crucial role today and kept a clean sheet. This is what he deserves and I am happy that he could.”
Is N’Golo Kante as influential as someone Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?
“He is a top player. If you have N’Golo, you have something everyone is looking for. You have everything that you need in midfield with work rate, intensity, ball wins, skilful play, off the ball, with the ball, dribbling and even a goal.
“I see this every day in training and it is hard to believe how good he is. He doesn’t make a fault in ball wins. He plays excellent in every possession game in training. He is a unique guy.
“There’s no more words needed from me. We have a strong midfield together with Jorgi and Kova in the second half. N’Golo is N’Golo. He is fantastic.”
How is Christian Pulisic, will he be fit to face Aston Villa on Tuesday?
“The game against Aston Villa is maybe too close, I hope I am wrong. This is my impression with him not in training so far. Let’s see tomorrow.
“Maybe he had a good progression today. Maybe it is possible. It would be super nice to have him but it is doubtful.”
How important has Andreas Christensen become for you?
“Andreas has been very strong since day, can play in all three positions in the defence and he plays with a lot of confidence.
“In the beginning, I had the feeling it was a bit of push to believe in himself and impose himself and trust in his quality because he has everything that we need in these positions. Again a very strong performance. You can see it in the minutes.
“We rely fully on him and he’s doing very very good so far and it is everybody’s target that he continues like this.”
Did you feel the emotion of Jimmy Greaves passing led to Spurs’ fast start?
“I don’t know if it came from that. For me, it was clear they had another energy from us on the pitch like as a team they took risks. They played very aggressive and they played very brave.
“That opened chances for counter attacks for spaces for us because it was a very aggressive and very emotional Tottenham side in the beginning. But like I said too sloppy, not sharp enough to use this aggression to our advantage and from time to time I did not feel compact enough.
“Not sure from where it came but I agree with the lack of intensity and energy in our game as a team in the first half. Second half was fantastic answer and a very good performance.”
Source by Football London