Chelaea manager Antonio Conte has predicted a season of struggle for Tottenham at Wembley after his side inflicted a first home Premier League defeat since May 2016 upon their rivals.
Wing-back Marcos Alonso netted twice for the Blues, including the winning strike two minutes from time, after an own goal from Chelsea substitute Michy Batshuayi had hauled Tottenham level.
After navigating 19 league games unbeaten at White Hart Lane during the previous campaign, Spurs fell at the first hurdle at Wembley – their base while the building of their new stadium is completed – and Conte believes there could be a lack of home comforts.
“Wembley is a fantastic stadium and to see this atmosphere is amazing but it is amazing for the opponent also,” said Conte. “In this atmosphere, so strong for us, our fans tried to push the same despite 70,000 Tottenham supporters. But, honestly, to see this atmosphere is also great for the opponent.”
After an inauspicious start to their title defence against Burnley, Conte insists the Blues, depleted through injury and suspension, have provided a timely reminder of the reasons why they were crowned champions last term.
“I must be pleased,” added Conte. “I want to thank my players and everyone because they showed me great desire, spirit, will and heart. I saw today the fighters. I saw a lot of positive things.
“They showed great desire to be the champions. It was very important this.”
Chelsea were bidding to avoid defeat in both of their opening two league games of the season for the first time since the 1973-74 campaign and wasted a glorious opportunity to take a fifth-minute lead.
The guilty man was £60m club-record signing Alvaro Morata as he met stand-in skipper Cesar Azpilicueta’s right-wing cross but could only plant a free header wide of Hugo Lloris’ post from eight yards.
Morata’s blushes were spared as Chelsea seized the initiative on 24 minutes when Alonso majestically whipped a free-kick, following a foul by Dele Alli on David Luiz, over the Spurs wall and beyond Lloris.
Despite the incessant sound of a beating drum being played over the tannoy in an attempt to stoke the atmosphere, Spurs lacked their usual rhythm until the latter stages of the half.
Frontman Harry Kane – one goal away from a century for Tottenham – saw a low effort crash off the base of Thibaut Courtois’ post before the Belgian stopper palmed away a Ben Davies shot.
Spurs spent the first half of the second period camped in Chelsea’s defensive third but, despite a flurry of corners, failed to trouble Courtois.
Chelsea appeared to have weathered the storm but after Willian’s drive had cannoned off the woodwork, Spurs levelled with eight minutes remaining. Christian Eriksen’s inswinging free-kick was headed past a stranded Courtois by Batshuayi.
Chelsea, however, were not done. After Victor Wanyama was robbed of possession, substitute Pedro slipped in the rampaging Alonso, who drilled beyond Lloris.