When Paris Saint-Germain relieved Thomas Tuchel of his duties simply 4 months after he guided the membership to their first Champions League closing, each Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp reached out to contacts in Germany to determine if what they believed was true: his subsequent job can be within the Premier League.
The suggestions was within the affirmative, however on the time, Arsenal and Manchester United had seemed just like the believable locations.
Tuchel assumed he’d have a break, however recent after being sacked, Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia was on the cellphone to him, and in a month, he was unveiled at Stamford Bridge.
This was each nice and dangerous information for Guardiola and Klopp: one other managerial heavyweight to problem them, but additionally a really important menace to their ambitions of home and continental dominance.
Tuchel within the Premier League was a testing sufficient thought, however armed with the riches of expertise in Chelsea’s squad, the pair have been braced for a brand new energy.
In his opening three months on the helm, the 47-year-old received the higher of each in addition to Diego Simeone, Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho – with out conceding a aim in any of these fixtures.
Deeper nonetheless, since being appointed in January, Chelsea have collected 44 factors in 21 video games underneath Tuchel, with solely title holders Manchester Metropolis successful extra (51) having performed a match extra.
That kind within the high flight was topped by ousting Guardiola’s males to turn out to be champions of Europe, which even on the time felt like solely the beginning.
Including a assured and full Romelu Lukaku to the ranks solely heightens the sensation that Chelsea are returning to superpower standing at a degree the place the one query mark round Tuchel – whether or not he would sometimes combust and fall out with a notoriously impatient board – has massively lessened.
Two of the supervisor’s former colleagues at Borussia Dortmund have advised The Impartial how stunned they’ve been by his way more relaxed and jovial state.
One of many causes for that is he has been allowed to focus squarely on teaching on the membership, not getting roped into boardroom battles as was the case at BVB, the place he fell out with Sven Mislintat, their chief scout on the time, sporting director Michael Zorc and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
There was no signal of the each day political struggles encountered at PSG, the place Antero Henrique after which Leonardo couldn’t discover frequent floor on the recruitment view and supreme form of the staff.
At Chelsea, Tuchel additionally considerably returns to his roots of improvement – albeit with larger stakes and higher expectations – given the dimensions of gifted gamers aged 25 and underneath that he’s tasked with moulding.
“I’m in a high membership with incredible assist, tremendous organised and powerful group on the sector,” Tuchel not too long ago advised Sky Sports activities. “It’s a pleasure to work day by day and it’s like this since day one.”
Success, so shortly too, naturally breeds happiness and a buy-in from gamers. That is aided by a tactical set-up that goals to squeeze play into the centre of the pitch, the place the clever passing of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, aligned with the shut proximity of the three centre-backs, attracts the opposition earlier than working the ball out to the superior wingbacks to take advantage of house and numerical benefits.
Guardiola defined this method forward of the Champions League closing. “They’ve the three central defenders and the 2 holding midfielders so shut after which on the identical time, they’re so vast with the wing-backs and might go direct with the forwards getting in behind,” he mentioned.
“You can’t get too shut, trigger they push you inside after which push you vast and have all of the gifted gamers then working via the center to harm you within the half-spaces.”
That is armed with an aggressive press, and now an virtually unplayable model of Lukaku who has shed the notion that he’s only a goal man.
Tuchel was geared up with unbelievable instruments when he walked into Chelsea, however he has maximised them. It’s what Guardiola and Klopp predicted he would do, which is why the prospect of him at Chelsea – and even at United – was all the time a a lot scarier prospect than Frank Lampard or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being in situ.
Tuchel spent a big portion of time idolising Metropolis’s supervisor and modelling a possession recreation gleaned from Pep’s fundamentals. He had consecutive spells in Klopp’s shadow each at Mainz and Dortmund.
He has morphed right into a revered rival to each, all whereas carrying the duties of being within the dugout higher.
Chelsea journey to Anfield on Saturday to navigate the primary critical problem to their billing as real title candidates. Tuchel will lastly arrive as an equal to Klopp moderately than the person making an attempt to claw out of the shade and catch his gentle.
Their groups have contested the final 4 Champions League finals and can duel it out for the home crown beginning with a fixture that guarantees a lot – and may have a really intrigued viewer in Guardiola.