Antonio Conte bemoaned the "incredible" decision to disallow Harry Kane's first half strike as his unbeaten league start as Tottenham manager came to an end against Chelsea, before admitting his former club are on "another level" to his present squad.
Kane appeared to have put the visitors into the lead at Stamford Bridge before the referee, Paul Tierney, adjudged the England captain had fouled Thiago Silva as the ball was played into his path. From there, second half strikes from Hakim Ziyech and Silva inflicted a first league defeat on Conte at Spurs, as Chelsea ended their recent shaky form with what ultimately turned out to be a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Conte, however, could not hide his disbelief at the decision from Tierney. "To see this type of goal disallowed in England, it was incredible," he said. "Maybe in Italy. 50-50, but in England it was incredible." With the Premier League now on its winter break, attention at Tottenham turns to the remainder of the transfer window. Conte again appeared to underline his belief that this team are some way adrift of the league's top sides with his post-match comments about Chelsea.
“They’re much stronger than us as a team and a squad – we tried everything to get a result here,” Conte said. “Despite that, sometimes it’s not enough, especially when you play against this type of team. They’re very good and this club are on another level compared to us.”
Tottenham have won just once at Stamford Bridge since 1990, and this latest defeat gave Chelsea valuable breathing space above Manchester United in fourth. Had they lost here, the prospect of being dragged into a scramble for Champions League qualification would have been a possibility, but Thomas Tuchel was delighted with the manner of his side's victory.
“The effort was outstanding and it was a deserved win,” Tuchel said. “It’s hard to create chances against them but we were relentless. It was a good team effort and an excellent result.”