Tuchel’s Midas touch | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 07, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 07, 2021

ALL-ENGLISH FINAL IN ISTANBUL

Tuchel’s Midas touch

"I can't put it into words at the moment. It was a great performance. We should have had about five, but the most important thing is that we won. To get that goal late on, you could see by the celebrations how massive it was, giving us breathing space in the last five minutes."

Mason Mount

 

Since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January, Thomas Tuchel has overseen a remarkable revival in Chelsea's fortunes. His finest moment came in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg as Chelsea beat Real Madrid 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to clinch a 3-1 aggregate success.

Goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount booked an all-English Premier League showdown with Manchester City in the final in Istanbul on May 29.

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Tuchel arrived with a solid CV after leading Paris Saint-Germain to the French title and last season's Champions League final. But few expected him to have such an immediate impact on under-performing Chelsea. Lampard loyalists even cried foul at the brutal sacking of the club's leading scorer and they were singing his name loudly outside the ground before the kickoff of the return leg.

But with Tuchel having taken Chelsea from ninth in the Premier League to fourth, into the FA Cup final and now into their first Champions League final since 2012, few would deny that hiring the 47-year-old German was anything other than a masterstroke.

Defensive excellence has been the trademark of Tuchel's reign and once again he organized Chelsea superbly as they kept Real at bay and posed a sustained threat on the counter. Under him, big-money signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have begun to flourish, young English midfielder Mason Mount has taken his game to another level and N'Golo Kante has rediscovered his best form.

It was Chelsea's 18th clean sheet under Tuchel and the statistic could hint at a defensive, cautious approach. But the opposite is true. Tuchel's side produced a dazzling display of fluent attacking football against Real and but for a flurry of missed chances that had the German raging on the touchline, it could have been a rout.

While Chelsea enjoyed a possession figure of only 32 percent against Real, their appetite to win the ball back was as great as ever. The central pair of Jorginho and Kante disrupted Zinedine Zidane's team's build-up play by making interceptions. Mount's three tackles, the joint-highest for the Blues', showed the idea to shut Real down all over the pitch.

When asked if the world had seen a 'Thomas Tuchel style' or he was getting the job done 'on a week to week basis' in the post-match press briefing, he replied, "I am pretty happy with what I see. When I came out, I was pretty happy with what I saw from the first training session ahead of Wolves."

"I don't have the feeling that it is only me. I played my part but the players did what we see here. What we saw was pretty strong because we adapted to multiple situations. We have answers to a lot of questions that are asked. Today, for example, we cannot always find a skillful solution," Tuchel added.

"At times, we hang in and fight. We use our bodies, we use our work rate and if we couldn't outplay them we were ready to outwork them with hunger and energy."

Tuchel has already masterminded a victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final and a repeat in Turkey would cap an incredible debut season.

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