Chelsea are ‘the real deal’, insists Graeme Souness, as Micah Richards praises Thomas Tuchel’s ability to ‘dismantle teams’ with his tactics
- Chelsea cruised past Tottenham with three second-half goals in north London
- Thomas Tuchel responded to a poor first-half display by taking off Mason Mount
- His replacement N’Golo Kante scored the second and ran the show in midfield
- Graeme Souness praised Tuchel’s ability to adapt to the English game so quickly
- Fellow pundit Micah Richards underlined Tuchel’s ability to make changes
- Roy Keane said the Blues had ‘a machine-like quality’ to them under the German
Graeme Souness and Micah Richards were mightily impressed by table-topping Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel as they overwhelmed Tottenham in an ultimately one-sided London derby.
After a first half which Nuno Espirito Santo’s men shaded, Tuchel made the decision to take off an out-of-sorts Mason Mount and replace him with N’Golo Kante.
That switch, along with greater intensity for the visitors and a poor second-half showing from the Lilywhites, made the difference as Thiago Silva, Kante and Antonio Rudiger got on the scoresheet.
Micah Richards and Graeme Souness were impressed by what they saw from Chelsea
Thomas Tuchel’s decision to bring on N’Golo Kante paid off as the Frenchman ran the midfield
Antonio Rudiger put the icing on the cake as the Blues moved top of the Premier League table
Speaking in the aftermath of the match which sent the Blues top, Sky Sports pundits Souness and Richards were quick to praise Tuchel’s ruthless streak.
Richards said: ‘I think Thiago Silva in the second half was great. Kante came on, a little more energy in midfield and they just dominated the second half.
‘I was watching it thinking ‘what’s changed?’ and I know he’s [Tuchel’s] made the sub, we can talk about bringing Kante on, but Chelsea are just dismantling teams.
‘I’ve never seen a manager see something’s not right [to this extent] and then it’s like they turn into a different team in the second half.’
Souness traced back Tuchel’s no-nonsense approach to a match last season as a reminder to his team of the standards that need to be maintained.
‘He’s got the squad where he can mix it up,’ the Scot said. ‘Go back to Callum Hudson-Odoi [against Southampton in February].
Souness underlined Tuchel’s ruthlessness in taking off the popular Mason Mount for Kante
‘Sub goes on, he’s not happy with him – get him off. That statement alone has put a marker down for everyone in that dressing room.
‘You can’t mess with this guy. He’s got a squad where he can keep mixing it. I’m as big a fan of Mason Mount as anyone out there, but he felt he wasn’t quite at it and I like the way he chats about it not being all about formations and tactics [in his post-match interview].
‘For him, it was more about energy levels and being first to the ball and being aggressive and he’s picked up very quickly that in our game that’s so important, more important in the Premier League than any other league that you have to be physically ready for it.
Midfielder Saul Niguez was on the bench in north London after a poor debut against Aston Villa
‘If you’re a big team, whoever you’re playing, you have to be ready to meet that physical challenge head on. It’s incessant now.
‘We saw with Saul, who he watched in training and thought was ready last week and it was a wake-up call for Saul and he’s not [been] involved this week. The guy’s picked up our game very quickly.
Right now, they’re the real deal. First half, Spurs were better. Chelsea landed up winning 3-0. They’ve got tremendous belief and today was a classic example. That’s what separates top teams from good teams.’
Thiago Silva was steady at the back and broke the deadlock just after half-time with a header
‘Chelsea have that quality,’ Richards added. ‘Every time they go forward they look like they’re going to score. The rest of the team are chipping in [with Lukaku not scoring]. It could have been six or seven.
‘Tuchel is decisive. If he feels something’s not right, he changes things. He’s taken off Mount for Kante and Mount will still fight for him next week.’
Fellow pundit Roy Keane expressed similar sentiments: ‘It just confirms what we already know. They’re an outstanding team.
Kante drove home for a rare strike before Rudiger rounded off a memorable Sunday afternoon
‘There’s a machine-like look to them. Chelsea are a brilliant team – real quality, energy, desire.’
Chelsea next play in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday at home to Aston Villa before hosting Manchester City in a mouthwatering clash at Stamford Bridge three days later.
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