Many said Chelsea Lacked Direction Before Thomas Tuchel’s Takeover
The blues had lost five of their previous eight Premier League games and were 10th in the table at the halfway stage of the season before the German boss walked in at Stamford Bridge for his first game in charge.
Six weeks on from his appointment, he has them back among the top four of the Premier League and looking like the best bet to compete with Manchester City in the long term. Not only is Chelsea unbeaten in their eight Premier League games under Thomas Tuchel – 10 in all competitions – but they have conceded only twice in that time.
Thomas Tuchel was appointed as Chelsea manager on an 18-month contract and was tasked with hauling the underperforming Blues back into the Champions League next season. Tuchel took over club legend Frank Lampard who was sacked by the Blues 18 months into his 3-year contract. Lampard’s predecessor Maurizio Sarri led Chelsea to third place in the Premier League and won the Europa League before departing for Juventus after just one season in London.
At the time, Chelsea looked to have taken a risk by hiring Tuchel. While the 47-year-old took PSG to their first Champions League final last season, he flamed out at the Parc des Princes amid reports of a fallout with the club’s hierarchy. It was a similar story at Borussia
Dortmund, where Thomas Tuchel clashed over transfer strategy. Stamford Bridge has been a difficult environment for managers in the Abramovich era and so hiring someone as volatile as Tuchel, someone who had a track record of disruption, wasn’t the safe choice.
Roman Abramovich has never been one for sentimentality. His Chelsea reign is best defined as a ruthless pursuit of success. In 16 years, there have been 14 managerial changes. The short-term approach has yielded 16 major trophies, so it is no great surprise that Maurizio Sarri was allowed to depart despite his Europa League final win over Arsenal. Business as usual.
Thomas Tuchel isn’t surprised to have defeated Jose Mourinho, Diego Simeone, and Jurgen Klopp since taking charge at Chelsea because the club has “everything you need to be successful as a coach”
Style of Play
If anything, Thomas Tuchel has proven to be a flexible manager, capable of adapting his system (and relatively enough) his style of play to fit his squad.
Thomas Tuchel’s teams attack and entertain, they are versatile and adapt to tactical problems during matches, and adhere to simple principles of play: possession is king, they win the ball high up the pitch, and they are aggressive with and without the ball
He utilized what could be classified as a 4-3-1-2 or 4-1-3-2 at Mainz, and a variety of formations at Borussia Dortmund including 4-1-4-1, 4-2-3-1, and 3-4-3. At PSG, he was relatively fluid between sticking true to a 4-3-3 that seemed to fit the squad to a tee but also frequently implemented a more high pressing 4-2-2-2 system. Therefore, Tuchel could theoretically walk into any club or team and identify the strengths and weaknesses of his side before choosing a system to build around. But nailing the German manager down to one specific formation would be impossible, and also rather pointless, given the fluidity of his formations that can change drastically in attack and defense.
“Perhaps one thing that stands out in all of Tuchel’s sides is the relatively steady presence of a lone defensive midfielder, rather than a double-pivot”
Chelsea’s transformation shows why they needed him.
This team was one in search of their own style, a distinctive identity. It emerged instantly as Chelsea broke their Premier League passing record in that first 45 minutes against Wolves, Chelsea had 898 passes, 92% passing accuracy, and Wolves only got 1 corner kick the entire game. The team’s defensive issues have been emphatically resolved. Suddenly, they look rock solid at the back.
A reminder that this record has been sustained despite the loss to injury of Chelsea’s most experienced defender Thiago Silva.
It’s not just the consistency Thomas Tuchel has instilled in his new team in a very short space of time, it’s the opposition they have faced over this 10-match stretch. It’s not as if the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain have had an easy start to life in England having faced Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur in his first month.
The top four and Champions League qualification seemed a long way off for Chelsea at the point of Lampard’s dismissal, but under Tuchel they have climbed back up the table and are now well-placed to achieve that objective. With Manchester United and Leicester City stuttering, it’s still possible Chelsea could finish as the best of the rest in the Premier League this season.
Thomas Tuchel was asked if Chelsea’s result his stewardship were proof the club had made the right decision to bring him in at the expense of club legend Lamapard,
The 47-year-old replied: “I am flattered but I will give the flowers to the players and club, it has proven that Chelsea is an organisation and a club that has everything that you need to be successful as a coach and as a football team.
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