Tottenham’s recent resurgence under Antonio Conte came to a shuddering halt at Stamford Bridge, losing 2-0 to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.

It is a wake-up call for Conte and his team, with plenty to ponder, not just for the second leg but the season ahead.

Let’s take a look at the five things we learned:

Gulf in Class

Despite the progress made in Conte’s short time at the club, this game showed there is more work needed to compete with the top teams. Conte’s assessment was forthright: “Compare the two teams, there is no comparison. They are a team ready to win.”

The difference between the two teams was clear, particularly in the first half. Even with a second-string team Chelsea were sharper, incisive with their passing, composed and quicker to second balls. They pressed and suffocated Spurs which led to a number of errors, most notably for the first goal.

Defensive Frailties

Japhet Tanganga will obviously shoulder most of the blame for his disastrous performance. It was his sloppy pass that led to the first goal and then a calamitous header that ricocheted off Ben Davies for the second.

It certainly would have helped to have a calm presence alongside him. But Davinson Sanchez also endured a difficult evening, struggling to deal with the physicality of Romelu Lukaku. It was also his clumsy challenge on Lukaku that resulted in the free-kick from which Chelsea scored their second goal.

It was a difficult night for the pair and a clear indicator that the return of Christian Romero and Eric Dier can’t come soon enough.

Wing Backs

Not for the first time in recent weeks, this game highlighted the importance of wing-backs. For Chelsea’s first goal, Marcus Alonso wins the ball back high up the pitch and then has the ability to play a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Kai Havertz.

For Spurs, on the other hand, it was another disappointing display from the two wing-backs. Emerson Royal looked off the pace and his overall distribution and decision making in the final third was poor.

Matt Doherty was equally ineffective on the other wing, although in his defence he was playing on his weaker side.

Twice in the first half, he was guilty of misplacing passes when found in promising positions. On the second occasion, he failed to find Lucas Moura who had made an overlapping run. Caught out of position, Chelsea were able to break and won the free-kick from which they scored.

These are the margins between Spurs and the top teams. In this case the difference between potentially getting back on level terms at 1-1, but ultimately finding themselves 2-0 down.

Conte’s preferred system relies heavily on the role of the wing-backs, therefore this is an area he will be keen to address.

Hojbjerg Struggling

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has struggled with his performances in the last few games. However, there have been mitigating factors.

Since joining Spurs he has set high standards with his consistent performances, so it is more noticeable when he drops below those levels.

Also, in the games against Southampton and Watford, he needed to help the team create things against teams playing deep – this is not his game and it exposed his limitations in this area.

However, against Chelsea he struggled to deal with the press and lacked composure on the ball, often giving the ball away.

Perhaps his game would benefit from playing in a three-man midfield, where he sits deeper breaking up play, allowing the other two midfielders to create things going forward.

It’s Only Half Time

One of the few positives from the game is that it remained only 2-0. Perhaps a little optimistic but that gives Spurs a glimmer of hope for the second leg.

With the change in system and personnel, Spurs were brighter in the second half and showed more desire. If they can take elements of that into the next game, with the home crowd and a couple of key players back, there’s still a chance. Maybe.

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