Chelsea FC was 10th in the Premier League when Thomas Tuchel took over from coach Frank Lampard’s team. Now the Blues are reaching for the stars in the English Champions League final against Manchester City.
“We’re here to win the title,” Tuchel added before the final DAZN said. Four reasons for Chelsea’s transformation.
Thomas Tuchel’s transformation of Chelsea was without a doubt one of the greatest achievements of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
Even in normal times it would be unusual enough to tactically turn a team inside out in just a few months, from tenth to fourth place and into the Champions League final (Saturday, 9 p.m. on LIVETICKER and Live DAZN) respectively.
But to do this in the middle of an ultra-exhausting and in all respects unusual pandemic season, in which game followed game and there was even less time on the training ground than usual: that is something completely different again.
This is how Tuchel turned Chelsea inside out:
The German practically doubled the number of points per game after arriving from PSG. Before the 2-1 loss to Aston Villa on the last day of the game, Tuchel had a win rate of 66.6 percent – the highest of any Chelsea coach since Jose Mourinho’s first term in office.
Before moving to Chelsea, Tuchel stood for tactical flexibility, often changing formations during a game and sometimes a bit hectic attacking football from the good old Klopp counter-pressing school.
In order to adapt to the unique conditions of this season, Tuchel has introduced a rather slow, calm and very possession-heavy football at Chelsea, which concentrates most of the build-up game in the middle of the pitch.
Similar to Pep Guardiola, brother in spirit and opponent in the CL final on Saturday, Tuchel has filled the midfield with players to lure the ball and opponents into the center. There, Chelsea’s technicians were just waiting to take over the game. In this way, Chelsea avoided falling victim to the sometimes chaotic pandemic football.
“Pep was one of the first to call me after it was over in Paris,” said Tuchel DAZN: “It’s always a very friendly exchange.” But what sets Tuchel apart from Guardiola is the consistency of his formation and style. Chelsea seldom moved away from a 3-4-2-1 basic order, somewhat reminiscent of Antonio Conte’s favorite system, under Tuchel. In addition, the team tried to avoid too much pressing and too fast a pace and focused on an orderly build-up game.
Like Guardiola’s Manchester City, Chelsea have control of the game regardless of the scenario.
From this base, Tuchel began to implement part of the attack dynamics of his previous teams Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.
Chelsea FC under Tuchel: Match plans instead of spontaneity
That didn’t always work out, the team often seemed too tired to follow all the specifications in detail, Chelsea’s players are not counter-pressing monsters. But Tuchel got more out of Kai Havertz and Werner than his predecessor.
Havertz has improved significantly in the last few months, Werner can also leave so many good scoring chances because he comes on so many opportunities.
Havertz and Werner harmonize much better under Tuchel at Chelsea than before. Which is not surprising, since both were trained at Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig in the German counter-pressing style.