Thomas Tuchel’s first convincing steps

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“Tuchel is an exceptional trainer. I am sure he will be successful. I am happy to see him in this country. “ Being greeted like this by Pep Guardiola hasn’t happened to all coaches newly inducted into the Premier League. Thomas Tuchel was entitled to praise from his Spanish colleague, who had the opportunity to cross his path in Germany mainly. He was not the only one to welcome the German coach with dignity since overall, the perception of his appointment on the Chelsea sidelines was positive in the media. The articles mentioned his history with PSG, his ability to manage the stars Neymar and Mbappé, his tactical mastery but also his clashes with his different directions.

Presented as a recognized tactician who had to land whatever happens one day in the Premier League, Thomas Tuchel knew however that this benevolence would quickly disappear in the event of poor results. After a sad 0-0 against Wolverhampton to start, the German coach found an impressive cruising speed, with 5 consecutive victories (including 1 in the FA Cup) and a last draw to date, on the lawn of Southampton. He replaced Chelsea at the top of the standings (5th to 2 points from fourth place) and gave them an already clearer playing identity.

Defensive stance but still timid attack

The tactical scheme is now in practice: it’s a 3-4-2-1, where the attacker is supported by two attacking midfielders at the heart of the game. The wings remain the domain of the pistons (Marcos Alonso on the left, Hudson-Odoi or James on the right). Tuchel carried out a workforce review, for example by relaunching goalkeeper Kepa in the Cup or by testing all or almost all of his central defenders. Defensively, it’s solid, with 2 goals conceded in 7 matches. And this even without Thiago Silva, absent from the last 4 meetings. Offensively, it’s less brilliant, with 9 goals scored in these 7 matches.

“It’s due to a lack of precision, not to a lack of opportunities”, recently judged Thomas Tuchel at a press conference. “It is due to the quality in the decision making”. The German coach has not yet found the right offensive recipe. He moved Timo Werner back a notch, positioning him among the two attacking midfielders under the striker, whether Giroud or Abraham. Havertz was injured, just like Pulisic, Ziyech is the big loser in recent weeks, and it is finally Mason Mount who shows himself to his advantage. Tuchel does not deconstruct what his predecessor Lampard had built, and trusts the young guard when necessary.

The fact remains that if Tuchel was able to take his marks in the Premier League, the road will rise considerably in the coming days. There is of course the Champions League, with the round of 16 first leg against Atlético de Madrid on Tuesday evening. Then will follow the receptions of Manchester United and Everton at Stamford Bridge before a trip to the lawn of Leeds de Bielsa and finally the eighth final second leg. A sequence of 5 meetings which should tell more about the real level of these Blues version Tuchel.

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