Ghana's No. 1

Tuchel's ironic role in Haaland joining Man City with Guardiola influence

Published on: 23 September 2022

Although a lot of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea plans were reactive to the opposition rather than proactive choices to take the attack to teams, the former manager developed a knack for getting the better of some of the world's best coaches.

In his first half-a-season at Stamford Bridge Tucel beat Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone twice, Zinedine Zidane twice and Pep Guardiola three times. His big game record was unblemished and would go on to get victories over Antonio Conte three times in a row during his first and only full campaign in charge.

In almost Jose Mourinho-like fashion Tuchel managed to set his side up in a tough-to-beat style whilst also posing unique threats to each team faced.

His second 50 matches revolved more around pragmatic play during a time which Chelsea struggled to flow as a team. His biggest win in charge was a complete performance all-round though, and the subsequent events following the Champions League victory in 2021 demonstrate just how much Tuchel had the edge on his competitors.

Having already beaten Manchester City and Guardiola twice in the weeks leading up to the final, in two different manors as well, Tuchel's Chelsea team was largely predictable for the final, so much so that Guardiola even deconstructed his tactics, saying, "why Chelsea play so good because they have three central defenders close and the two holding midfielders are related and moving to close the pockets.

"The structure with the five and two players are so, so close and at the same time 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 the teams that don't have to play with the ball."

The Spanish manager appeared spooked for the game, choosing not to play Rodri in the final and picking now Chelsea player Raheem Sterling despite his downturn in form leading up to the game.

Since then Guardiola has beaten Tuchel in the next two games, but former Manchester United pundit thinks Tuchel's tactics in that game caused for one of the most destructive signings in league history.

"Speaking to BetFair, Evra said, "City were winning the league without a striker, but in the Champions League they struggled, now I feel like they have no excuse. When they lost that final against Chelsea, Guardiola decided to play without any striker, now this won't happen again."

Guardiola went into last season with only Sergio Aguero as the main striker but the Argentine struggled for fitness and form. This summer they secured Erling Haaland and the forward has already scored 11 goals in just seven matches, more than Chelsea.

Despite winning the league without a striker, Guardiola reverted back to using a central striker like he had with Aguero and Robert Lewandowski. Now Haaland is around, a player that Chelsea chose not to seriously push for last summer, Tuchel may well be looking back in frustration having come to a sour end with Romelu Lukaku at the club instead.


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