Thomas Tuchel’s tactics at Chelsea weren’t enough to keep him in a job at Stamford Bridge, but they clearly impressed Pep Guardiola, who once broke down his rival manager’s tactics perfectly in 37 seconds.
Last week Todd Boehly continued the tradition of Chelsea owners not having too much patience with managers, sacking Tuchel after the American had only been in charge for 100 days, stunning the former PSG boss at the training ground.
It hadn’t been a great start to the current campaign for Tuchel but, after a summer of spending that seemed to be geared towards the German, it seemed like a premature decision from the LA Dodgers owner.
Tuchel looking forlorn after the loss to Dinamo Zagreb. Image: AlamyClearly Boehly wasn’t impressed and wanted to bring in his own man, in the shape of Graham Potter, but not everyone feels the same way.
Back in 2021, Tuchel led the Blues to European glory, beating Manchester City in the Champions League final, ahead of that game City boss Guardiola was asked about how their opponents play.
The former Barcelona gaffer gave a 37 second speech to Rio Ferdinand, perfectly breaking down why it was so difficult to face the west London side.
Guardiola told BT Sport: “Why Chelsea play so good… because they have three central defenders close, the two holding midfielders who move in relation are close, the pockets are close, the striker and the two [others in attack] are so, so close.
“The distances are so close, and at the same time they are so wide with the wing backs, they are so good with the ball in behind.
“That’s why you cannot be close because they push you [out wide] and they have a lot of good players in the middle.
“That’s why it’s difficult to face teams who want the ball and want to play with the ball. We’ve tried to do it since day one.”
Tuchel in happier times, with the Champions League trophy. Image: AlamyKnowing how their opponents were going to play didn’t exactly work for City or Guardiola, especially as they seemed to abandon their own plans.
The Spanish manager has been criticised in the past for ‘overthinking’ big Champions League nights and that seemed to be the case in 2021 final.
He changed tactics and played with neither Rodri or Fernandinho in midfield, and they were done by Kai Havertz goal in the first half.
Havertz winner in the final. Image: AlamyPotter’s first match in charge was due to be the west London derby against Fulham this weekend, until games were postponed following the Queen’s death.
Instead he will face Red Bull Salzburg in his first match, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, before next week’s huge game with Liverpool, unless games are once again postponed.