LONDON -- Maurizio Sarri labelled Chelsea's defending in a humiliating 3-1 defeat to rivals Tottenham "a disaster" and added that he could have substituted all 11 of his players without changing the outcome of the match.
Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min all scored as Spurs dealt Chelsea their first competitive defeat under Sarri, with substitute Olivier Giroud providing the only consolation for the Blues when he headed in late on.
But for some wasteful Tottenham finishing the scoreline could have been even more painful for Chelsea, and Sarri did not hold back in his assessment.
"The defensive phase was a disaster," he said. "I am not talking about the defensive line, the defensive phase -- the offensive players pressed very badly, the midfielders defended not very well and the defensive line as a consequence was a disaster. The defensive phase of the team was a disaster."
The result saw Tottenham leapfrog Chelsea into third in the Premier League, while the gap between Sarri's men and leaders Manchester City has grown to seven points -- bolstering his repeated insistence that his team are not in title contention this season.
"I knew very well that we had a lot of problems to solve and I think that today it was clear for everybody," Sarri said. "I hope first of all [it was clear] for the players, because I told them in the last week that we had a big problem with our approach to the match, and today was the same approach.
"But the level of the opponent was different and in 10 minutes we lost [two goals]. This was the first problem but today I saw a lot of problems.
"We played very badly from the physical point of view, mentally, technically -- especially in the first 20, 25 minutes -- tactically, so we have a lot to work on."
Alvaro Morata endured another ineffective night and was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez on 58 minutes as Sarri shifted Eden Hazard into a False No.9 position for the first time this season, but the game was already beyond Chelsea's reach.
"I had to do something different, just to change the match," Sarri said. "But it wasn't important. Today they were better than us, 11 players out of 11. It was not important. I wanted to change the match with something different but I think I could have changed 11 players with the same result."