I HAD to double-check it was Mauricio Pochettino talking when I read his comments after the game.
“To fight in this moment, at that level against Chelsea, the big side in England is fantastic. It is a big thing for us.
“Two years ago it was difficult to think we would arrive at that level,” he said.
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Now had this been Eddie Howe at Bournemouth or Sean Dyche at Burnley I could possibly have understood it.
But this is supposed to be a team equipped to challenge the very best.
Built to win silverware.
Yet Pochettino was talking like this was still all a work in progress. How long has Spurs been a work in progress?
As Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, in his first season with Chelsea, said afterwards: “There is a moment when you have to finish. This is the moment.”
The point being that the future never comes in football, the time is now and you have to take the opportunity.
This is a fantastic Spurs team NOW.
They have one of if not the best goalkeeper in the league in Hugo Lloris, the best centre half in Toby Alderweireld.
There are two cracking midfielders in Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama.
Christian Eriksen’s distribution is top class.
Dele Alli is the most exciting young English player out there and Harry Kane is probably the best striker.
On Saturday at Wembley they had their chance.
The chance to shake off this nearly tag, this bottlers tag.
When the Chelsea teamsheet arrived they should have rubbed their hands and thought ‘let’s do this’.
No Diego Costa, no Eden Hazard.
Now you could argue that Costa could have been left out on form alone but not Hazard.
Quite simply, Spurs did not take their chance.
Pochettino needs to bear some responsibility here.
Why on earth did he play Son Heung-Min as a left wing back?
I can’t remember him ever starting there.
His performances of late have been exceptional going forward, not as a wing back.
He was there to combat the pace of Victor Moses down that flank but never looked comfortable and conceded the penalty against the same player just before the break.
That was at a time when Spurs were on top too.
Ben Davies has been playing in every game of late and in every game has been doing well – yet he was on the bench yesterday as the manager switched things around.
The fact Son was hooked for Kyle Walker on 68 minutes told you the plan had failed. And why did Walker not start? Part of the side that helped Spurs convincingly beat Chelsea in January. Spurs conceded four goals after disrupting a settled and successful defence.
Now Conte took a risk too in his selection but got away with it because Spurs did not take advantage of the situation.
My Match of the Day colleague Jermaine Jenas claimed Spurs had deserved to win it.
I had to take issue with him. They did not because what is statistically the best defence in the league could not defend yesterday.
What were they doing leaving Hazard completely unmarked on the edge of the box for the third goal?
Granted there was little that could be done about Nemanja Matic’s strike but the impetus had already swung Chelsea’s way.
For all Spurs’ possession they had just four shots on target all game.
Chelsea had just one better with five but were clinical.
Conte was made to look a genius by holding back Hazard and Costa and then releasing them into the game just past the hour.
Now he still has both fresh for tomorrow’s match against Southampton.
It is a game they will go into with renewed vigour having lost two of their last four in the league to give Spurs hope.
The gap is four points and not withstanding Saturday’s outcome I always thought Chelsea would do it anyway.
Now this has certainly given them that extra boost for the run-in and left Spurs needing to pick themselves up for what is going to be a tough away game at a rejuvenated Crystal Palace on Wednesday.