So that’s eleven unbeaten now for Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, and nine in the Premier League, which is good for third all-time for a new manager at the start of their Premier League career. (Sarri actually first in that regard, with 12.)
It was not easy, but we made it look so by the end, and that made the bossman super happy indeed.
“We created, specially in the second half, a lot of chances because we could find the spaces to accelerate our game better. It was difficult in the first half but we were always in control, second haf we created a lot in the transition game and also with a more self confidence and rhythm in possession.
“We had a lot of chances, we could have won by more, a well-deserved win and I am super happy with the win.”
More importantly, the win keeps Chelsea in fourth for at least another matchday, and keeps us within striking distance of the teams ahead in second and third, while increasing the gap just a little bit to those immediately behind (with West Ham keeping pace however). With just ten games left, every little bit counts.
9 - Only Maurizio Sarri (12 games with Chelsea in 2018-19) and Frank Clark (11 games with Nottingham Forest in 1994-95) have begun their Premier League managerial careers with a longer unbeaten run than Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel (currently P9 W6 D3). Blue. #CHEEVE pic.twitter.com/98OXKUgHXe— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 8, 2021
Another positive development from tonight’s win was the team’s ability to execute Tuchel’s gameplan despite some fairly heavy rotation, including a couple players who have not featured significantly at all so far under the new head coach, like Kai Havertz and Kurt Zouma.
Having a big squad like Chelsea’s can be detrimental at times, but Tuchel’s pressing most of the right buttons so far.
“If you play in competitions like Premier League and Champions League and Cup there is no way you have eleven players in your head.
“First of all, whoever you see on the pitch deserves to be on the pitch and we need to analyse what we give in there. We cannot just keep players on the pitch to keep them going. Sometimes it is like this, but after two intense games and away games with a lot of travelling and we missed a lot of sleep between Atletico, Man U and Liverpool, it was the moment to change.
“My belief there was no doubt because the guys who were on the pitch deserved it. We changed also a little bit because of the characteristic of the offensive players because we expected a bit of a man marking in offensive midfield so we went for speed and for deep runs today.
I want to have the choice and when I have the choice sometimes it is a tactical decision. [...] There is a reason for every change and you cannot just say I trust you guys. If you trust them you have to let them play. This is the best situation we did not lose quality at all. Everybody feels it and they can play on a high level.”
It all plays into the team ethos that Tuchel, like most top coaches, looks to cultivate first and foremost. Individual talents and abilities abound, but the best teams are always more than the just the sum of their parts.
It’s very much early doors, still, in that regard for Tuchel, but having established a more than solid base with a strong defensive structure and a largely mistake-free approach and execution during the matches, we can certainly have hope of such improvement arriving in the not so distant future.
“If you play maybe as a hobby or with friends, if you share special moments, good results, a hard fight, this is what brings you together, lifts you up to a special place and performances, gives you energy.
“I truly believe that this sport is about team effort, I can feel the strong bond between the players, they are not talking about it but they live it in training and this is what you see on the pitch. [...] I feel the positive energy from everybody around the team towards my staff. Everybody is doing everything in a really positive atmosphere and we need this to continue.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
So say we all.