It has been a whirlwind first month for Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea.
Seven video games. 5 wins. Two objectives conceded. Zero losses. One public dressing-down of a participant.
Oh, and hundreds upon hundreds 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 sort to the German coach up to now, although, with Premier League matches in opposition to 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 in opposition to Atletico Madrid, the Spanish league chief, and its coach of almost 10 years, Diego Simeone.
“That is precisely what we would like, the most important check,” Tuchel stated Monday. “As a result of hopefully it brings out the most effective in us. It’s clear when play in opposition to Atletico what you get — you get exhausting preventing, an skilled crew, loads of mentality.
“We’ll do it in our manner, and they’ll do it of their manner.”
The stats below Thomas Tuchel & Frank Lampard are fascinating studying. Your ideas? pic.twitter.com/CoIOboASEN
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) February 22, 2021
So what has been Chelsea’s “manner” 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 4-2-3-1 to a three-man protection with excessive wing backs and two sitting midfielders to guard the again line.
Additional ahead, Tuchel has regarded 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 numerous gamers introduced again in, together with left wing again Marcos Alonso — who hadn’t performed since September below Lampard — heart again Antonio Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi, a winger who’s often working without any consideration wing again below Tuchel.
Cesar Azpilicueta, the reliable membership captain, has been a daily within the crew as a right-sided heart half. His days had appeared numbered below Lampard.
Then there’s been the clear change in enjoying fashion, with Chelsea dominating the ball and having a minimum of 70% possession in 4 of the seven matches. In opposition to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea had 79% possession and accomplished 820 passes — greater than some other crew in a Premier League recreation this season.
🗣”I can perceive how he looks like this as a result of the worth and competitors we’re, within the PL is a a lot greater worth than it’s for PSG of their league”
Thomas Tuchel responds to Thiago Silva saying he feels much less stress to win the Champions League at Chelsea in comparison with PSG pic.twitter.com/8p4CA6B52Q
— Soccer Each day (@footballdaily) February 22, 2021
Nonetheless, some outdated habits die exhausting. Chelsea continues to wrestle to transform its dominance of matches and territorial stress into objectives, 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.
Anticipate probabilities to be few and much between in opposition to Atletico’s skilled and famously rugged protection as Tuchel takes cost of a second totally 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 attainable when you really feel a bond between the gamers as a coach, and I really feel this stuff,” he stated.
Tuchel stated Hudson-Odoi was in competition 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 in opposition to Southampton — saying his “angle” wasn’t proper.
It was Tuchel’s first open spat with a participant since arriving, underlining his popularity as a single-minded coach who just isn’t 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.
“Generally you replicate, ‘Ought to I’ve performed that?’” Tuchel stated, “as a result of the media, the surface, the household makes it larger than it’s meant. Nonetheless, I did it and I had the response I wished.
“I stated after the sport that is the choice for right this moment, that is the lesson to study for him. For me, additionally.”
Certainly, Tuchel nonetheless has a lot to find out about his squad, underscoring the dimensions of his activity in opposition to Atletico as he seems to outwit a coach in Simeone who has been in his publish since 2011.
“You understand that you just arrive on the highest stage whenever you play Atletico within the first spherical of the knockouts,” Tuchel stated. “We really feel assured. We really feel excited.”