By Emma Sanders
Pat Nevin believes Antonio Conte’s decision to bring on Branislav Ivanovic for the final 10 minutes of Chelsea’s 2-1 victory was crucial to the team picking up all three points.
The Italian introduced outcast Ivanovic in the 81st minute for Victor Moses and Nevin believes it was a shrewd decision to ensure Chelsea looked after their slim lead.
Chelsea have adopted a 3-4-3 system since their 3-0 defeat against Arsenal and it has worked exceptionally well for the Blues, who have conceded just one goal in their last seven games.
Nevin believes Ivanovic’s introduction would have sparked fear into Spurs’ attackers and when Chelsea reverted to a back five it ensured they won the game.
“The introduction of Branislav Ivanovic near the end while dropping Alonso deeper to make it a monumental-looking back five, is a pretty chilling sight for any forward,” Nevin told the club’s official website.
“Not many goals will be scored against those personnel and that formation. It looked like an almighty door being slammed shut on Tottenham’s ambitions when the boss made that move, and very Italian.”
Ivanovic has been overlooked in recent months due to Chelsea’s formation change and the manager has opted to use Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azplicueta instead.
His appearanced against Tottenham was just his 10th of the season and he has only made six starts in the Premier League since Conte’s arrival.
The Serbian was a big part of the team under Jose Mourinho and made 33 league appearances throughout the 2015-16 campaign but has had to battle for a place recently.
Chelsea currently top the Premier League table by one point ahead of Liverpool and Manchester City and face Pep Guardiola’s side on Saturday in the latest showdown clash.
In other Chelsea news, Harry Kane has revealed what the defeat meant to him.