A month into the job, Thomas Tuchel has guided Chelsea back into the top-four thanks to four wins on the bounce and 13 points picked up from the 15 on offer. He hasn’t done it with spectacular attacking football and he hasn’t done it against the best teams in the league, but he’s done it with cool, calm, and collected efficiency. (You could say something stereotypical and trite about German efficiency here, but if you’ve ever tried to work on a modern BMW engine, you’ll know that to be not true.)
Of course, with 14 games still to go, the job is far from over. Other than Manchester City, no one has shown the ability to keep winning consistently this season. That’s why they’re practically champions already, and that’s why the rest of us are scrapping for top-four or top-six. (And if Everton and/or Aston Villa were to win their two games-in-hand, they would actually overtake us as things stands.)
But it’s not yet time to worry about other teams. The focus, as before, is firmly on our own business. One game at a time, at a time.
“We will never stop pushing because like I said before, there is no other way than taking it step by step and game by game. I can only tell everybody there is a long way to go, there are many many teams who are close and we have some tough games, a lot of big teams to play and points to win.”
“Many people said when we started that [top four] wouldn’t be possible because there were many places and points between us and Liverpool in fourth place. It was clear that it was not all in our hands and we needed results on other pitches to close the gap. This was the situation when we started. From then on, we spent not one minute thinking about the other pitches and other teams, the situations with the fixtures.
“We just spent every minute with our team focusing on us. To prepare for matches because we play in the toughest league and we need to be ready every three days.”
Chelsea do get a bit of a break before next weekend’s trip to Southampton, after which we have a couple massive fixtures, with a Champions League test against Atlético Madrid and a top-four showdown against Manchester United. It might be easy to look beyond Saints, who have lost a club record six in a row, but to do so would be a grave mistake. Trust Tuchel to keep the narrow focus.
“The only focus will be on how to be ready for Southampton. I think that my players know this very well. We worked hard for this momentum. The players have worked incredibly hard to win all these games in a row and it will not stop. That’s the bad news, but everybody is prepared for that.
“Everybody who signs for Chelsea wants to have this competition and the challenge is now to keep on going. But we can look at our performance, determination and hunger to not allow anybody to drop to 99% performance levels.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Chelsea dropping our performance levels was a key factor in the terrible run of results that cost Lampard his job last month. Now it’s up to Tuchel to ensure that a similar regression doesn’t happen as the match calendar get tougher and we continue fighting on three fronts.