It has been a whirlwind first month for Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea.
Seven video games. 5 wins. Two targets conceded. Zero losses. One public dressing-down of a participant.
Oh, and 1000’s upon 1000’s of passes.
The online result’s a widespread acceptance that Chelsea achieved an improve by firing membership nice Frank Lampard and changing him with extra of an skilled tactician in Tuchel, who has already put his personal stamp on the crew as he transitions to life in English soccer.
The schedule has been variety to the German coach thus far, although, with Premier League matches towards out-of-form groups (Wolves, Tottenham and Southampton) or relegation contenders (Newcastle, Burnley and Sheffield United) flanking an FA Cup recreation at second-division membership Barnsley.
Now it’s time for the hardest check by far of Tuchel’s Chelsea tenure — a last-16 matchup within the Champions League towards Atletico Madrid, the Spanish league chief, and its coach of practically 10 years, Diego Simeone.
“That is precisely what we wish, the largest check,” Tuchel stated Monday. “As a result of hopefully it brings out the perfect in us. It’s clear when play towards Atletico what you get — you get exhausting preventing, an skilled crew, numerous mentality.
“We are going to do it in our method, and they’re going to do it of their method.”
So what has been Chelsea’s “method” because the arrival of Tuchel on Jan. 26, a day after Lampard’s firing and a day earlier than Tuchel took cost of his first match?
In a transparent change of recreation plan, Tuchel instantly switched formation from Lampard’s Four-2-Three-1 to a three-man protection with excessive wing backs and two sitting midfielders to guard the again line.
Additional ahead, Tuchel has seemed to get extra out of offseason signing Timo Werner by deploying him as an inside ahead, positioned on the left and simply off the primary striker, which has alternated between Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham.
The slate has been cleaned within the squad, with quite a lot of gamers introduced again in, together with left wing again Marcos Alonso — who hadn’t performed since September beneath Lampard — middle again Antonio Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi, a winger who’s sometimes working with no consideration wing again beneath Tuchel.
Cesar Azpilicueta, the reliable membership captain, has been an everyday within the crew as a right-sided middle half. His days had appeared numbered beneath Lampard.
Then there’s been the clear change in enjoying type, with Chelsea dominating the ball and having not less than 70% possession in 4 of the seven matches. Towards Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea had 79% possession and accomplished 820 passes — greater than some other crew in a Premier League recreation this season.
Nonetheless, some outdated habits die exhausting. Chelsea continues to battle to transform its dominance of matches and territorial strain into targets, like within the 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday when Tuchel bemoaned his crew’s “lack of precision.”
“I didn’t really feel within the final 20 meters that we might kill the sport,” he stated.
Count on probabilities to be few and much between towards Atletico’s skilled and famously rugged protection as Tuchel takes cost of a second completely different crew on this season’s Champions League, having led 2019-20 runner-up Paris Saint-Germain within the group stage earlier than getting fired in December.
Tuchel stated Chelsea must “over-perform” to get previous Atletico.
“That is solely potential for those who really feel a bond between the gamers as a coach, and I really feel this stuff,” he stated.
Tuchel stated Hudson-Odoi was in rivalry to begin the primary leg on Tuesday, having withdrawn the 20-year-old England worldwide barely 30 minutes after bringing him on as a halftime substitute towards Southampton — saying his “perspective” wasn’t proper.
It was Tuchel’s first open spat with a participant since arriving, underlining his popularity as a single-minded coach who will not be afraid to talk his thoughts.
Tuchel stated Monday he had spoken to Hudson-Odoi in entrance of the squad in coaching and that the matter was over.
“Typically you replicate, ‘Ought to I’ve executed that?’” Tuchel stated, “as a result of the media, the skin, the household makes it greater than it’s meant. Nonetheless, I did it and I had the response I needed.
“I stated after the sport that is the choice for at present, that is the lesson to study for him. For me, additionally.”
Certainly, Tuchel nonetheless has lots to study his squad, underscoring the scale of his activity towards Atletico as he seems to outwit a coach in Simeone who has been in his put up since 2011.
“You already know that you just arrive on the highest degree once you play Atletico within the first spherical of the knockouts,” Tuchel stated. “We really feel assured. We really feel excited.”