Thomas Tuchel’s appointment as Chelsea manager brings another of the most highly-rated coaches in world football to the Premier League. The German is renowned for his highly-tactical approach to the game, playing entertaining football and having a tendency to fall out with those in positions above his own.
Everyone will be happy if improvements are made on the pitch though, so what can Chelsea fans expect to see?
Style of play
Tuchel’s teams attack and entertain, they are versatile and adapt to tactical problems during matches, and adhere to simple principles of play: possession is king, they win the ball high up the pitch, and they are aggressive with and without the ball. It’s somewhere between what we see from Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
Although renowned for his tactical nous, Tuchel encourages freedom of thought from his players. There are no rigid instructions that wingers and strikers must adhere to in the final third, for example, and Tuchel’s training sessions are designed to encourage players to react on the fly to a variety of situations rather than repeatedly drill information into them.
Tuchel doesn’t have a set way of playing, preferring his players and teams to be adaptable and to switch between multiple tactical systems, sometimes during the same game. His Mainz team pressed and counter-pressed relentlessly, chasing longer passes sent forward in a high-intensity 4-1-3-2 setup, while his Borussia Dortmund side played with a more measured tempo, utilising the greater technical ability of the individuals in the squad to move the ball around and dominate the game in possession in a 4-2-3-1.
Like at Mainz, Tuchel’s Dortmund side also pressed high up the pitch (when the opposition team has control of the ball) and counter-pressed (immediately trying to win the ball back after losing it). It looks a little like this in practice: