Chelsea wanted Frank Lampard to overhaul the culture at the club, but it’s his successor who is succeeding in changing things at Stamford Bridge. Thursday’s away win over Liverpool means Thomas Tuchel has now gone 10 games without suffering defeat as Blues boss. Indeed, the German has made an impact.
Only runaway Premier League
It’s not just the consistency Tuchel has instilled in his new team in a very short space of time, it’s the opposition they have faced over this 10-match stretch. It’s not as if the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain has had an easy start to life in England having faced Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in his first month.
The top four and Champions League qualification seemed a long way off for Chelsea at the point of Lampard’s dismissal, but under Tuchel they have climbed back up the table and are now well-placed to achieve that objective. With Manchester United and Leicester City stuttering, it’s still possible Chelsea could finish as the best of the rest in the Premier League this season.
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Lampard’s biggest issue as Chelsea boss was his struggle to find a balance between defence and attack, but Tuchel has done this in a matter of weeks. The Stamford Bridge side might be playing the exhilarating, free-flowing soccer owner Roman Abramovich has desired for years, but there is a control to their performances at the moment that gets the best out of all areas of the team.
Tuchel has turned Chelsea into a more technical outfit, with the visitors to Anfield dominating large swathes of possession against Liverpool on Thursday. There have been reports of new methods and ideas on the training ground, with those methods and ideas clear in the way the Blues are currently playing.
At the time, Chelsea looked to have taken a risk by hiring Tuchel. While the 47-year-old took PSG to their first Champions League final last season, he flamed out at the Parc des Princes amid reports of a fall out with the club’s hierarchy. It was a similar story at Borussia Dortmund, where Tuchel clashed over transfer strategy.
Stamford Bridge has been a difficult environment for managers in the Abramovich era and so hiring someone as volatile as Tuchel, someone who had a track record of disruption, wasn’t the safe choice, but Chelsea certainly appear to have made the right choice. The landscape has shifted dramatically in a very short period of time.
There are still some answers for Tuchel to find. While it’s true that he is getting more out of the talented squad of players he inherited, Chelsea are still capable of even more. Timo Werner looks to have rediscovered some semblance of self-confidence in recent weeks, but the German striker is still a shadow of the player that scored 28 goals in 34 Bundesliga games last season.
Kai Havertz is another potentially world class talent who is capable of more, but the early signs are good for Chelsea as Tuchel starts to build momentum early in his tenure. Stamford Bridge is a place where short-term success is demanded, and that is what Tuchel has delivered. Imagine what he could achieve in the long-term.