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Conte admits Chelsea were ‘much better’ than Spurs and there is an ‘important gap’ to top sides

Antonio Conte admitted that Chelsea were ‘much better’ than his side as Spurs slipped to a 2-0 win in their Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg tie.

Chelsea saw plenty of the ball in the opening passages of play, and quickly got their noses in front after just five minutes. The Blues pressed Spurs backwards before a poor pass by Japhet Tanganga was intercepted by Marcos Alonso. The Spaniard slipped a superbly weighted pass in behind Tanganga to pick out the run of Kai Havertz, who fired past Hugo Lloris thanks to a big deflection off of Davinson Sanchez.

 

Chelsea continued to play on the front foot, while Spurs looked well off the pace, with Havertz and Mason Mount both going close.

The Blues lead would eventually be doubled in calamitous circumstances 10 minutes before the interval, however, Hakim Ziyech’s in-swinging free-kick from the right being met by the head of Tanganga, though his attempted clearance hit Ben Davies and deflected beyond the helpless Lloris to leave Spurs with a mountain to climb.

Spurs did have an opportunity to pull one back early in the second half, with Harry Kane’s free-kick forcing a save out of Kepa Arrizabalaga, though in truth it would be the only real opportunity that they would fashion on an underwhelming night for the North Londoners.

Chelsea controlled the game through to its conclusion but were unable to add to their first-half lead to keep Spurs in with a chance of turning the tie around in next weeks second leg.

Speaking afterwards, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte admitted that his former side were ‘much better’.

“It was a difficult game, from the start,” he told Sky Sports. “Chelsea showed they were much better than us. In the first half, we struggled a lot but we know that we’re talking about one of the best teams in Europe and in the world.

“Last year, they won the Champions League and if you compare the two teams I think there’s not a comparison. We’re talking about a team that’s ready to win and they’ve played an important part over many years.

“Today, we have seen the difference between the two teams.”

Asked what Spurs were lacking during the tie, the Italian was quick to praise the performance of Chelsea, but conceded that there was ‘an important gap’ to the top sides.

“It is not easy to play at Stamford Bridge, the way they were very concentrated, they won the ball every time and then we conceded also a goal we were unlucky.

“When you start the game and after a few minutes they score, for sure the game becomes very difficult.

“But, I know the situation, it is very clear in this moment there is an important gap. We have to try to fight to stay in the league in a good position, but if we think we are close, I think we are not in the right way.”

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