Thomas Tuchel is yet to lose with Chelsea but fans are still reeling from Frank Lampard’s sacking after ‘boring’ wins over Sheffield United and Barnsley… so, just what has the German changed?
Thomas Tuchel has notched four wins and a draw since becoming Chelsea boss
The German replaced Chelsea legend Frank Lampard after a major slump in form
There are positive signs at the start of Tuchel’s reign but not everyone is happy
So far, so good for Thomas Tuchel since being handed the tricky task of following in Frank Lampard’s footsteps at Chelsea.
In fairness, following Lampard the manager isn’t the toughest assignment in world football – the Stamford Bridge hero had overseen a woeful slump in form and Chelsea were sliding down the table. Nobody needs to tell Lampard that you don’t get much time to turn things around under Roman Abramovich, especially when you’ve spent millions in the summer.
But Lampard is arguably Chelsea’s biggest hero and the fanbase are still shocked at how merciless a change was handled by the club. But now, its Tuchel at the helm and with five games played he has four wins and a draw.
So what has he changed so far? Sportsmail takes a look…
Thomas Tuchel has recorded four wins and a draw since he was named as Chelsea’s manager
HUDSON-ODOI AT WING BACK
One of the more immediate changes of note came from Tuchel’s first starting line-up in the 0-0 draw against Wolves at Stamford Bridge, with winger Callum Hudson-Odoi deployed as a wing back.
The England international has impressed there in his first five appearances under the German Tuchel and it could even help mould his international future, with Gareth Southgate partial to a 3-5-2 formation or a 3-4-3 with wing-backs.
And while some Chelsea fans are still warming to Tuchel, Hudson-Odoi is won over.
‘I’m liking it because it’s motivating when a manager is on the side giving you instructions and pushing you and shouting at you,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘Sometimes you don’t like shouting but sometimes it motivates players to keep improving and keep showing your quality.’
Tuchel has used Callum Hudson-Odoi (left) as a wing back since taking over at the London club
Marcos Alonso had been frozen out at Chelsea under Lampard but since Tuchel has taken the reins the Spaniard has been given a route back into the first team.
And Alonso returned with a bang when he was handed a start against Burnley, scoring the second goal in the 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, which was Tuchel’s first win at the club.
Alonso has gone on to make four appearances under Tuchel to date.
Jorginho also appears to have reclaimed status as a regular first-teamer again. He has played every Premier League game under Tuchel and scored twice.
Marcos Alonso made a scoring return to Chelsea’s line-up in Tuchel’s first win at the club
INTEGRATING HAVERTZ AND WERNER
It’s an ongoing process, but there were reports before Lampard was even sacked that the Stamford Bridge hierarchy would turn to a German coach as his successor.
That’s because two major question marks currently hang over two very expensive players in Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, two summer acquisitions under Lampard that together were worth £143m.
Werner’s goal drought is still ongoing but there are signs the tide could be turning. He was fouled by Eric Dier for Jorginho’s penalty in the 1-0 win over Tottenham. He has been played as one of Tuchel’s two No 10s and Werner is in the left 10 position which, like team-mate Hudson Odoi, he has spoken positively about.
‘Now I play as a left No 10, not a left winger so I have more space for my runs in the middle and can play behind a striker, or with a No 10 behind me as a second striker,’ Werner explained.
‘So it’s very good for me and I think there were also good moves from the manager in the last two wins.’
Timo Werner has looked more involved under Tuchel but his scoring drought is continuing
Tuchel, meanwhile, says Kai Havertz needs time following his move from Bayer Leverkusen
Havertz, meanwhile, needs time according to Tuchel, who has seen the former Bayer Leverkusen man restricted to just two appearances since taking over.
‘There is no short answer (to his issues), if there was a short answer I would clearly go and talk to him in that way to bring him to his full potential,’ Tuchel told Sky.
‘What we clearly know and what we can rely on is that all this potential is in him and all this logic is in him.’
Havertz is set to miss Monday’s match against Newcastle through injury.
Replacing a club legend as manager is an unenviable task for any coach and for Tuchel, taking over from Lampard was always going to be a bumpy ride.
Off the pitch and away from the stands (perhaps fortunately, in some ways, for Tuchel) the majority of the Chelsea fanbase is still reeling at the ruthless departure of Lampard last month.
Some Chelsea supporters still need convincing about Tuchel’s position as manager.
And some of those supporters have yet to be won over by Tuchel. Some have taken to social media to criticise ‘boring’ wins in the FA Cup against Barnsley and in the league against Sheffield United.
Jorginho’s return to midfield echoes Maurizio Sarri’s days in charge, during which ‘boring’ was a word often thrown at Chelsea.
But taking over mid-season is difficult for any manager, especially in a new league in a different country.
WHERE DO THE WINGERS FIT?
A consequence of Tuchel’s two No 10s mean there is less room for wingers in this new Chelsea side.
It threatens to have a knock-on impact on two other players the club have splashed out on in recent years in Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.
Last season, United States international Pulisic got better as the campaign went on and he adjusted to English football. He finished up with a respectable tally of 11 goals in 34 games but this season he only has two in 21.
Christian Pulisic has seen his role tweaked since he was reunited with Tuchel at Chelsea.
Of course, that can’t solely be attributed to Tuchel but it suggests Pulisic’s form and in turn, his confidence, isn’t as high as last year and now he has to recapture that flair while adjusting to a new set-up in the team. But don’t write the American off – Tuchel worked with Pulisic at Borussia Dortmund and know all about his strengths.
For Ziyech, however, it is another hurdle to overcome but Tuchel stressed, ahead of the Barnsley cup tie, that he expects the Moroccan to come good.
‘He’s adapting and he has the certain quality to decide matches and the certain quality to do the unexpected, which can give you an extra twist in any game and on any level,’ Tuchel said.
‘He proved that with Ajax and of course we want to push him to the same level of performance that he showed there, and this is our job.’
Tuchel has backed Hakim Ziyech to rediscover his Ajax form soon in the Chelsea colours +11
Tuchel has backed Hakim Ziyech to rediscover his Ajax form soon in the Chelsea colours
The return of Antonio Rudiger to Chelsea’s line-up actually began before Lampard’s sacking, but the Germany international looks to be fully integrated back into the fold at Chelsea now with Tuchel.
And it appears that has come at the expense of Kurt Zouma, who was a Lampard regular. Since the change in the dugout, Zouma has only featured in one match – Thursday’s narrow 1-0 FA Cup win over Championship outfit Barnsley.
Kurt Zouma’s only appearance under Thomas Tuchel came in the FA Cup win over Barnsley
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