In January 2021 Chelsea hired a new manager after the sacking of Frank Lampard. That manager was Thomas Tuchel, the first German manager in Chelsea’s history.
Immediately, Chelsea saw a change in fortune. They stopped conceding goals and started securing points with strong and stable performances that showed a real unit at work.
Winning the Champions League after just a few months in charge is a really impressive achievement, especially when it is as the underdogs against fellow Premier League team Manchester City.
So what has Thomas Tuchel done to transform Chelsea since Frank Lampard left the club? What kind of system does he implement, and how does he get the best out of his players?
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Tuchel’s background and tactical style to explain what he has done to transform Chelsea. We will also be taking a look at Chelsea’s recent dip in form, and how Tuchel can improve.
Thomas Tuchel started out as a professional footballer, playing for teams such as Stuttgarter Kickers and SSV Ulm. He played as a central defender, which may explain his keen knowledge of defensive strategies.
Unfortunately, Tuchel was forced to retire from his playing career at the age of 24 due to a knee cartilage injury. This was in 1998.
In 2000, Tuchel was hired by current Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick to coach the youth team at VfB Stuttgart. During his time here, he helped to coach many young players into first-team players, with examples such as Mario Gomez and Holger Badstuber.
Whilst managing the under-19s, Tuchel managed to win the Bundesliga title. After this, he went on to manage Augsburg II. He impressed many teams with his time at Augsburg, including Mainz 05 who chose to hire him as their new first-team manager in 2009. This was Tuchel’s first job in top-flight football.
Whilst at Mainz, Tuchel implemented an intense pressing style of play and the team scored a particularly high amount of goals for a smaller side within the Bundesliga. He managed them for a few seasons with mixed results, some good league finishes, and some good cup runs.
When current Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp left Borussia Dortmund, the club sought out the services of Tuchel due to a similar footballing philosophy involving Gegenpressing. This style of play is currently very trendy and the Germans have undoubtedly revolutionized football with it.
Despite a great record at Dortmund, Tuchel had a difficult relationship with the board. He left the
club with 68 wins, 23 draws, and 17 defeats. Overall, that’s a win percentage of around 62%, which is really impressive.
His time at PSG ended up being similar. He spent 2 seasons at the club and finished with the best win percentage in Ligue 1 history. Despite this, he regularly got into disputes with the board and left the club.
He did manage to reach the Champions League final with PSG, but unfortunately, they couldn’t quite bring the trophy home. This disappointment would be rectified not so long after this as he won the prestigious title with Chelsea. But what led to that trophy?
Initially, Tuchel started to employ a 3-4-3 formation for Chelsea. They didn’t concede a goal for quite some time after he took over and became defensively impenetrable. Up until a month ago, Chelsea had conceded just 16 goals under Tuchel.
This formation also allows the fullbacks to play in a more diverse way. This means players such as Ben Chilwell and Reece James have been more heavily involved in creating and scoring goals for Chelsea.
Tuchel is undoubtedly lucky with the young talent he has in his team, but his system allows players such as Mason Mount to really thrive and show the world what they’re made of.
The addition of Romelu Lukaku has not quite gone how everyone imagined, but having a strong target man like him actually allows other players to thrive. Defenders will naturally be very focused on Lukaku, and under Tuchel’s system, that allows his midfielders to actually score a large number of goals.
Unfortunately, cracks have begun to show in Chelsea’s current season. They have spent most of this season clear at the top of the Premier League table, being chased closely by Manchester City and Liverpool.
With an injury to Ben Chilwell and several other key players out, things have fallen apart quite quickly. This was highlighted in Chelsea’s recent home game against Everton, in which they had numerous chances to score but ended up coming away with a 1-1 draw.
Ben Chilwell could be the biggest loss, and the team is really struggling without him. Whether or not they will find their form again soon remains to be seen, and they still have the Champions League to focus on.
With a highly congested fixture list, as well as rapid COVID outbreaks, every team is struggling right now. But this could really impact Chelsea’s title hopes as Manchester City look set to steam ahead of the competition, and Liverpool doesn’t look like they’ll slow down any time soon.
Ultimately Tuchel is still doing a great job for Chelsea, and his job hasn’t come under question once since he took over at the London club.
The biggest worry is that he will have a disagreement with the board like he has at his previous clubs. Chelsea’s board is not known for being very sentimental when it comes to the hiring and firing of managers.
It’s clear that Tuchel understands how to take a squad of players and get the best out of them. Despite recent results, Chelsea is still in an excellent position in the League table.
Unfortunately, they just don’t have enough depth as the likes of Manchester City, and they haven’t been a unit for as long as Liverpool. If Tuchel stays at Chelsea for the next few years, we could see them become one of the most dominant football teams in the world.
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