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Thu 06 January 2022, 08:30|Tottenham Hotspur

Antonio Conte was honest in his assessment of our performance after a 2-0 loss against Chelsea in our Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.

“My thoughts are that Chelsea deserved to win,” he told us afterwards, speaking pitchside in SW6. “They played a good game. It was difficult for us.”

The damage was done in the first half. Kai Havertz capitalised after Marcos Alonso intercepted a pass with only five minutes on the clock, Havertz’s shot beat Hugo Lloris and looked on its way before Davinson Sanchez turned into his own net.

Chelsea doubled their lead in unfortunate circumstances on 34 minutes when Japhet Tanganga met Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick only for his attempted headed clearance to cannon back off Ben Davies and home.

“Our first half was not good,” said Antonio. “Chelsea won a lot of tackles, created chances to score and I think we were too passive.”

Our first half was not good... we showed more personality in the second half

Antonio Conte

Antonio switched things around at half-time from his usual 3-4-3 system to four at the back in a 4-2-3-1, introducing Tanguy Ndombele for the second half.

We certainly started brighter and Harry Kane’s early free-kick was turned away by Kepa Arrizabalaga, but Chelsea had the better chances after that until three minutes from time, when Bryan Gil, also off the bench, beat Christian Pulisic all ends up before forcing Arrizabalaga’s best save of the night down to his left. “We had more personality in the second half,” added Antonio.

Hugo Lloris was first out for post-match media duties and told us ‘it’s not over’ and that we had to believe in front of our fans for the second leg. Antonio agreed. “For sure, we have to believe because there is a second leg,” he said.

“It will be a tough game because we are talking about a team that won the Champions League last season. At the same time, we have to try to prepare the game in the best possible way. We know it will be very difficult, but we want to try.”