All of the speak forward of kick-off in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley had been about Manchester Metropolis’s quadruple bid however by the point the full-time whistle had blown, Chelsea proved that they will beat Pep Guardiola’s aspect.
And that is all down to 1 man: Thomas Tuchel.
Earlier than this absolutely deserved 1-0 victory, the German had by no means beforehand bought the higher of Guardiola as a coach.
When the pair had beforehand squared off in Germany, they have been by no means fairly competing on a stage enjoying area, even after Tuchel had swapped Mainz for Borussia Dortmund. There was simply no stopping Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
Nonetheless, Tuchel has since moved on to greater and higher issues, taking Paris Saint-Germain to a primary Champions League last final yr earlier than being appointed as Frank Lampard’s successor in January.
As on the Parc des Princes, Tuchel now has the sources to rival these of Guardiola at Metropolis, and he has now proven himself able to making a serious impression on English soccer.
He is already had an enormous impression at Stamford Bridge, in fact, shedding simply two of his first 19 video games in control of Chelsea. And simply this week, he led his new staff to the semi-finals of the Champions League, that means the Blues may but meet Metropolis once more this season, with a European Cup on the road.
On the proof of what we noticed at Wembley, Chelsea would fancy their probabilities. Certainly, they have been good worth for his or her Fifty fifth-minute opener, which got here courtesy of Hakim Ziyech.
For as soon as, Metropolis have been unable to hog the ball, with a assured Chelsea aspect claiming a 49.5 per cent share of possession throughout the first half.
“When you have good ball possession in opposition to Metropolis, possibly it’s the easiest way to defend,” Tuchel advised reporters after the sport. “However we have been very robust in the defensive statistics too, and is right down to the braveness of the gamers, each as people and as a staff.
“We defended very, very actively and aggressively, with big solidarity. Everybody must assault and defend. That’s the key.”
Tuchel’s method actually compelled a tactical change on the a part of Guardiola, who clearly instructed his aspect to press larger up the pitch after the restart.
No sooner had they moved their line of defense ahead than Chelsea pounced, with Mason Mount releasing the lightning-quick Timo Werner, who crossed for Ziyech to faucet dwelling.
It was simply the most recent in an extended line of intelligent tactical tweaks Tuchel has made since taking on, and finally determined the sport in his aspect’s favour.
It was a aim that additionally confirmed that Tuchel has a masterful maintain of this squad, rotating successfully after a midweek combination win over Porto within the Champions League quarter-final.
It was after that match in Seville that Tuchel additionally opted to maintain his gamers within the south of Spain for an additional evening. They stayed of their bubble however took outing for some hard-earned staff bonding.
Nonetheless, there isn’t a denying that star summer time signings Kai Havertz and Werner have progressed beneath his management, whereas Christian Pulisic can also be again on kind.
There are many homegrown heroes within the combine too, with Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James all retaining outstanding roles in Tuchel’s staff.
The underside line is that, after simply three-and-a-half months, Tuchel has proven that Chelsea are able to compete for main honours once more. With this win, he has already grow to be the primary German supervisor to succeed in an FA Cup last.
That he has achieved that little piece of historical past by beating Guardiola is arguably much more important.
“It was an excellent efficiency in all issues and all topics of the sport,” Tuchel continued. “It’s clear that we want that to beat the benchmark of the Premier League which is Metropolis. I’m very, very glad we may try this and it was a deserved win.”