It has been a whirlwind first month for Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea.
Seven video games. Five wins. Two objectives conceded. Zero losses. One public dressing-down of a participant.
Oh, and hundreds upon hundreds of passes.
The web 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 staff as he transitions to life in English soccer.
The schedule has been sort to the German coach to this point, 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.
“This is exactly what we want, the biggest test,” Tuchel mentioned Monday. “Because hopefully it brings out the most effective in us. It’s clear when play in opposition to Atletico what you get — you get arduous combating, an skilled staff, a variety of mentality.
“We will do it in our way, and they will do it in their way.”
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 “way” 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.
Further 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 various 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 with no consideration wing again below Tuchel.
Cesar Azpilicueta, the reliable membership captain, has been an everyday within the staff as a right-sided heart half. His days had appeared numbered below Lampard.
Then there’s been the clear change in taking part in model, with Chelsea dominating the ball and having at the least 70% possession in 4 of the seven matches. Against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea had 79% possession and accomplished 820 passes — greater than every other staff 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 increased worth than it’s for PSG of their league”
Thomas Tuchel responds to Thiago Silva saying he feels much less strain to win the Champions League at Chelsea in comparison with PSG pic.twitter.com/8p4CA6B52Q
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 22, 2021
Still, some outdated habits die arduous. Chelsea continues to wrestle to transform its dominance of matches and territorial strain into objectives, like within the 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday when Tuchel bemoaned his staff’s “lack of precision.”
“I didn’t feel in the last 20 meters that we would kill the game,” he mentioned.
Expect possibilities 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 staff 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 mentioned Chelsea must “over-perform” to get previous Atletico.
“This is only possible if you feel a bond between the players as a coach, and I feel these things,” he mentioned.
Tuchel mentioned Hudson-Odoi was in rivalry to start out the primary leg on Tuesday, having withdrawn the 20-year-old England worldwide barely half-hour after bringing him on as a halftime substitute in opposition to Southampton — saying his “attitude” wasn’t proper.
It was Tuchel’s first open spat with a participant since arriving, underlining his fame as a single-minded coach who is just not afraid to talk his thoughts.
Tuchel mentioned Monday he had spoken to Hudson-Odoi in entrance of the squad in coaching and that the matter was over.
“Sometimes you reflect, ‘Should I have done that?’” Tuchel mentioned, “as a result of the media, the surface, the household makes it larger than it’s meant. Still, I did it and I had the response I wished.
“I said after the game this is the decision for today, this is the lesson to learn for him. For me, also.”
Indeed, Tuchel nonetheless has loads to study his squad, underscoring the dimensions of his process in opposition to Atletico as he seems to outwit a coach in Simeone who has been in his submit since 2011.
“You know that you arrive at the highest level when you play Atletico in the first round of the knockouts,” Tuchel mentioned. “We feel confident. We feel excited.”