Thomas Tuchel’s first two games in charge of Chelsea were home games against teams below us in the league table, resulting in a scoreless draw and a 2-0 win. Last night’s away game against Tottenham, one spot ahead, was seen as the “truer” test, especially as we had not beaten any teams above us in the table all season. Spurs have been struggling, but it’s also hard to bet against Mourinho in such big games. And Chelsea have not been very good at all away from Stamford Bridge.
The scoreline may not have been very impressive in the end, but Chelsea’s 1-0 win at the new
Three Point Lane Tottenham Hotspur Stadium featured some impressive play, especially in the first-half, and then a bit of necessary “suffering” to see out a third straight clean sheet.
The only goal of the game came from Jorginho, who’s played every single minute for Tuchel thus far, and looks a midfielder reborn at the moment. It is perhaps appropriate that he also changed up his iconic penalty-taking technique, forgoing his usual sequence of elaborate hop skips a la some 1990s Brazilian, and deciding to keep it simple and go for power instead.
As he explained afterwards, that decision was motivated by his own realization and desire to improve, having missed three times this season already after missing just once (in non-shootout situations) in his career previously.
“I felt okay before the penalty. I have kept working on it, kept training, so I was feeling confident. I changed the technique because I felt that way could be better, and it worked. You saw the result.”
While Jorginho’s partnership with Mateo Kovačić looks integral in the center of Tuchel’s 3-4-3 setup, we’re still just three games into the new regime and cannot draw too many decisive conclusions on what the preferred best eleven might be — especially with N’Golo Kanté injured for most of that time. In fact we might not even have one, considering his record at Paris Saint-Germain.
The emphasis right now is learning and applying new ideas anyway, which Chelsea appear to be taking on board well — probably helped by the similarity of some of those ideas to what’s come before, be that from Conte or Sarri or even Lampard.
“The message he is giving on what he wants is clear. We had our minds open to understand what he wanted as quick as possible because we had no time to waste.
“When you have a group of guys that is open to new ideas, to learn, to improve, and everyone with the same target, it’s easy to work. This group was humble to accept what he was coming to give to us.
“We need to keep being humble and never thinking it is enough. We haven’t done anything. When you feel comfortable it is a moment to drop. We need to stay calm, keep working hard and then the results are a consequence of what we are doing every day.”
-Jorginho; source: Chelsea FC
While we’re clearly still in the “honeymoon period” that we go through almost every time there is a managerial change — and we’ve certainly have a fair share of them — it is refreshing to see how effective Tuchel has been in getting his ideas across to the players. There’s plenty of room for improvement of course, but the usual growing pains have been minimized. A welcome change, to be sure.