Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel explains why Juventus defeat was the turning point of the Blues’ season

After what has been on a steady upward trajectory for the first nine months, it looks like Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea tenure has experienced its first minor wobble back in late September.

At most clubs, a couple of defeats won’t cause a crisis, especially when they face Manchester City and Juventus, but Tuchel himself would certainly admit that two defeats for Chelsea, at the very least, should be. prompts some thoughts on what needs to be changed. The fact that the European champions have only produced one shot on target in those two games seems to point to a lack of clarity in their impressive start to the season.

However, that defeat in Turin proved to be a turning point for Chelsea in attack with their attack bursting with life despite losing Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to injury at the end of October. In eight games. In the Premier League and Europe since the defeat to Juventus, Chelsea have scored 23 goals while their expected goal difference (xG) per game increased from 1.3 to 2.3. Some games may have been more favorable but the Blues filled their warm-up in a way they probably didn’t earlier in Tuchel’s tenure.

“A lot of things changed after that game,” Tuchel told CBS Sports. “Failure to Manchester City and defeat against Juventus, sometimes you need this to question yourself, to learn from these defeats.

“We had control of this game in Turin but we lacked rhythm, lack of accuracy, lack of a certain free spirit to take more risks in the right area of ​​the field. We changed. slightly changed our approach, it sharpened our psyche and we found [our way] back to our best identity and best shape. “

His previous commitment to playing with his feet has been evident in recent results, not least the 3-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday, where just a few offsides kept Chelsea from scoring. the table is even scarier. In the second half of last season, when Tuchel guided them to the top four, they became experts at stopping games when they were ahead. Only one of their 19 wins in that span has seen them score more than twice; Tuchel’s typical early Chelsea goal might have been a 2-0 win as they scored early, holding back their opponents and punishing their growing desperation in the late game.

Now the whole team seems to have made a scoring mistake. Full-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell are leading the scoring from deeper areas while the likes of Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have equalized decisive goals in recent games.

“The best way to defend is to keep attacking,” says Tuchel. “Sometimes it happens like this that a goal has a huge effect not only on your team but you also find that sometimes if you’re ahead by one, the other team plays with a little bit more courage, a little bit more. attitude they have nothing else. There aren’t a lot of normal goals in football matches and they have a huge impact on attitude, confidence, so it doesn’t necessarily just come to us when we have may not be able to score any more goals.

“In general, I would say we try to create as many chances as we can, we try to attack for 90-94 minutes and we absolutely want to set up a behavior where we constantly play like 0-0. We do our best and do it non-stop, with a certain spirit and quality, not to be affected by if it’s an away game, a home game, a situation. what the situation was like, the competition, and the scores.”

Crucially, Tuchel believes his team’s greater attacking prowess does not come at the expense of making his defence more vulnerable. It was something very exciting for him even during early season wins when his side relied so heavily on the excellence of Edouard Mendy, who conceded just six goals in 16 games and nominated for the FIFA Best Goalkeeper award.

No team has registered more than one xG of shots since the 1-0 win over Brentford. The opponent may not be the strongest Chelsea will face this season but keeping six opponents with a combined xG ratio of 2.05 is impressive even against the likes of Malmo, Norwich and Newcastle are in the mix.

Tuchel noted: “At the start of the season we relied too much on the quality of Edouard and Kepa in goals, we conceded a few more chances but considering the pre-season the arrival of the players. from the big leagues this can happen sometimes.We’re working on that.

“The last few games it was absolutely like this, we kept a clean sheet, we deserved a clean sheet and we kept our goal record as expected very low. This is something that we need to look at, you can’t just rely on the results. in football it’s often skewed, a huge factor is luck and bad luck in matches. We’re looking into this but we’ve had a lot of fun lately. for this development.”

If they continue with their current form, they will certainly put more pressure on Juventus’ goal than last time. However, the visit of Bianconeri Coming to Stamford Bridge actually brought some mathematical difficulties for Chelsea. One point is enough to guarantee a place in the knockout stages but it also means they are guaranteed second place in Group H.

When the top spot puts you past Bayern Munich, Ajax and potentially Paris Saint-Germain, this seems like a well-deserved bonus but it probably isn’t if it leaves Chelsea vulnerable in the Premier League. Final battle for second place with Zenit. However, Tuchel wouldn’t be prepared to lose bets in his pursuit of the top spot in his press conference that Mendy wouldn’t risk going forward for any corners late in the tie. tie number.

Still valuable at the top. “If you ask me personally, it’s always a better situation for the next round: you can start with an away game, you have the second leg at home and for me you have a slight advantage. In general, it depends on personal feelings, on drawing, on the situation.

“First of all, we’re not gambling on this, we’re not looking at other groups at this stage because we don’t qualify and we have to focus on that. Before we talk about getting into that. win the pool we should make sure we qualify and that way we try to win the games this is what we do you cant gamble on slot first place, second place. This is just a distraction.”

Their manager says Chelsea will still “do it”. With such form at both ends of the pitch, it will take a pretty impressive performance from Juventus to stop them from getting there. Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel explains why Juventus defeat was the turning point of the Blues’ season


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