Leboeuf says Chelsea 'hammered' Spurs thanks to one specific player

'Changed the game': Leboeuf says Chelsea 'hammered' Spurs thanks to one player

Frank Leboeuf lauded Thomas Tuchel’s decision to bring on N’Golo Kante against Tottenham Hotspur, which ensured Chelsea secured the win.

Speaking on ESPN, Leboeuf pinpointed the half-time introduction of Kante as the reason behind the Blues’ big conquest in the capital.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side contained their noisy neighbours efficiently for 45 minutes, even orchestrating a few openings for themselves.

Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Fortunately for Chelsea, their strength in depth allowed them to call on a double Premier League winner and potential Ballon d’Or nominee.

The second Kante’s number lit up the fourth official’s board, the mood in the air changed.

Spurred on by the Frenchman’s introduction, the Blues began to dismantle Tottenham piece by piece.

Thiago Silva opened the scoring from a corner, before Kante’s deflected effort doubled the visitor’s advantage.

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Antonio Rudiger rolled home the third in stoppage time, concluding a fine three-quarters of an hour in London.

Kante’s contribution

But the three points may not have headed back to Stamford Bridge had Tuchel not altered his team at the break.

“Big credit to Thomas Tuchel. What he did at half-time made the difference,” said Leboeuf.

“Tactically, it was a fight. They couldn’t find a solution first half. Spurs did pretty well.

“Suddenly, you have the idea of changing an offensive player – Mason Mount – for N’Golo Kante, who is normally a so-called ‘defensive midfielder player’, and he changed it all.

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“What Kante knows how to do is to go forward, bring something, bring the pace, change the gear.

“Kante changed the game. It’s why Chelsea really hammered Spurs in the second half.

“That was because of that masterpiece. Tuchel told us he can become more offensive by bringing on a more defensive player. That’s absolutely fantastic.”

With the scores level in the first half, some might have been surprised when Kante entered the fray ahead of more attack-minded colleagues.

Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner – who was eventually invited to the party – all watched on as the 30-year-old was added to the equation.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

But what a wise judgement call it turned out to be.

A better balance fell on Chelsea, encouraged by the large presence of their miniature midfielder.

Tottenham failed to get any kind of grip in the game as they let a once-promising position fall away.

After Silva’s header flew past Hugo Lloris, the result was rarely in doubt.

However, Spurs might have earned at least a point if it wasn’t for Kante’s contribution.

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"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."