No club has perfected the impact of the ‘new manager bounce’ quite like Chelsea.
For only the second time in their history and the second time in nine years, the west London club are Champions League winners.
Their season had threatened to slide off the rails under Frank Lampard after spending £220 million last summer, only to see results take a turn for the worse.
In came Thomas Tuchel to replace the club legend in January and the German has overseen a remarkable change in direction, tightening up the Blues’ defence and changing their shape to help them finish in the top four.
Tuchel then joined Roberto Di Matteo in the European winners’ circle after masterminding a 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto on May 29.
Incredibly, it means that in all three seasons where Chelsea have reached the final — in 2008, 2012 and now 2021 — they had changed their manager midway through the season.
Now that the 2020/21 campaign is officially complete, Mirror Sport looks at which Chelsea players can look back on their displays with pride — and those who will see room for improvement…
*Only players with five appearances in all competitions have received a rating.
The Senegalese was brought in to help shore up Chelsea ’s defence after Kepa Arrizabalaga’s worrying form at the start of the season and he has been unbeatable at times.
Incredibly, he kept 25 clean sheets across his 43 Premier League and Champions League appearances, conceding only 25 goals in the process. A fantastic piece of business.
The £71million goalkeeper seems to have been unburdened by being in the spotlight on a weekly basis after being dropped by Frank Lampard.
The Spaniard found form late on in the season with a more sturdy defence in front of him under Thomas Tuchel, keeping five clean sheets in his last six games. However, his long-term future at the club looks uncertain.
Chelsea’s reliable captain has been forced to be patient this year after temporarily losing his place to Reece James, hinting his powers may be on the wane.
But the 31-year-old has shown his mettle in crucial games and produced a fine display to guide his team to their first Champions League trophy since 2012.
A brilliant young footballer who can play in several different positions to a respectable standard.
The energetic full-back has cemented his status as a regular starter at his boyhood club and with 47 appearances this season, it is clear Tuchel trusts James to perform as a centre-back or wing-back.
He fully deserves his place in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
Two catastrophic performances against West Brom aside, Silva has been one of the signings of the season after arriving on a free transfer from PSG.
The 35-year-old has been a colossus at the back, showing poise in possession and leadership both on and off the pitch. Those who said he was finished at the top level look very foolish.
No player at Chelsea has experienced such a change in fortunes like Rudiger has.
Frozen out under Lampard and on the verge of a January exit, the German was persuaded to stay by Tuchel. Since then, he has rediscovered his best form, with his marauding runs and last-ditch blocks proving crucial on many occasions.
Do you agree with our Chelsea player ratings? Have your say in the comments section below.
Like Rudiger, the Dane was brought in from the cold by Tuchel and has looked much more comfortable in his 3-4-2-1 setup.
An elegant central defender with an impressive range of passing, Christensen remains an important squad member. He should be staying with the club this summer, which looked unlikely six months ago.
Zouma’s five goals in the league put him amongst Chelsea’s top scorers this season but if anyone has experienced a dip in form in the latter half of the season, it’s him.
The Frenchman doesn’t look happy in the back three and has fallen down the pecking order behind Christensen and Rudiger. He could be sacrificed if Tuchel has his eyes on a new centre-back.
Chelsea shelled out a club-record £50m fee for a defender to sign Chilwell from Leicester and it has paid dividends.
The 24-year-old has been a solid operator as a left-back and then as a wing-back too, adapting to Tuchel’s methods.
Four goals and five assists highlight his attacking contributions in an impressive debut season.
The Spaniard fell out of favour after a bust-up with Lampard and was left on the sidelines until Tuchel came in.
After a brief period in the team, Chilwell’s form has kept him on the bench and the 30-year-old may feel the time is right to seek a new challenge elsewhere.
The only baffling part of Emerson’s status at Chelsea is that he still makes the squad ahead of Tammy Abraham.
The left-back has made just two appearances in the Premier League, both from the bench, and while his late goal against Atletico Madrid was well-taken, the Italy international will surely depart this summer.
Not many players can claim to have won man of the match awards in both Champions League semi-finals and also the final, but Kante did.
To limit the Frenchman to a midfield destroyer is offensive. His intelligence comes from breaking up the play, starting counter-attacks and making lung-busting runs, even sometimes in the 90th minute.
A marvellous player who should be in the discussion for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
The Croatian is an expert dribbler in central areas and can protect the ball better than Jorginho, and that is crucial for the Blues when they are being pressed.
The midfielder will know his goal and assist contributions are too low, but he covers a lot of ground and his efforts put in high regard by Tuchel.
Remarkably, he finished the season as Chelsea’s top scorer in the league with seven goals. But while he found his mark from the penalty spot, the Italy international’s form has been rocky at times and has been singled out for some catastrophic errors.
He offers protecting to the backline and can dictate the tempo with controlled possession, but his lack of pace means he is not a great fit for the frenetic nature of English football.
A star in the making and Chelsea fans will be hoping he gets a fair chance under Tuchel after graduating from the club’s academy last season.
The 21-year-old clearly did enough in his 11 appearances this season to convince Scotland boss Steve Clarke he was worthy of a spot in his Euro 2020 squad.
It’s difficult to see Chelsea’s future without Mount playing an integral role in it.
The attacking midfielder has gone from academy starlet to world-class midfielder in the space of two seasons and quickly shrugged off the “teacher’s pet” he had unfairly earned under Lampard.
Now an automatic starter for the Blues after proving his worth to Tuchel, his nine goals and seven assists do not begin to show how many times he has carried the team on his young shoulders this season.
After a difficult start to life in England, Havertz is gradually showing why Chelsea paid £72m to sign him from Bayer Leverkusen.
The German, 21, struggled for form and fitness in the first half of the season after contracting the coronavirus and nine goals in his debut campaign is perhaps below what his new club would expect.
But his Champions League-winning strike in Porto underlines the fact he has a big future at Stamford Bridge.
The Moroccan will have been disappointed with failing to nail down a regular spot in Chelsea’s XI this season after struggling to reproduce the form he showed with Ajax.
The winger chipped in with some important goals against Atletico and twice against Manchester City though, suggesting he could play an important role next season.
Pulisic is something of an enigma at Chelsea. He was one of the most in-form players in the Premier League following ‘Project Restart’, but injuries have taken their toll on the American.
The 22-year-old’s strike against Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg in Madrid set the Blues on their way to glory. But now he has genuine competition for a place, he needs to produce that kind of magic more consistently.
Expectations have always been high for Hudson-Odoi and that is part of the problem. The winger seems to have more of an impact when he is trying to prove his worth than when he is given a run of games in the team.
Four goals and three assists in 30 appearances goes some way to showing why the 20-year-old has been used as a wing-back, but he has time on his side to fulfil his enormous potential.
A curious case of a striker who has been woeful in front of goal but overall, an impressive performer.
The German has become notorious for missing gilt-edged chances this season and the ex-RB Leipzig man has only scored twice in his last 21 games, which is quite simply not good enough.
But his selfless runs and assists — 10 in all competitions — alongside his 12 goals in all competitions shows why he has kept his place, and Chelsea will be hoping for more next season.
Even with limited game time, the Frenchman always deliver goals and his magnificent four-goal haul against Sevilla was one of the highlights of Chelsea’s season.
The 34-year-old knows his days are numbered under Tuchel, having fallen behind Werner and Havertz in the pecking order and his contract expires in June.
He will leave with a number of trophies under his belt and the adoration of Chelsea fans. A model professional.
It is a regrettable scenario that Abraham will feel he hasn’t been given a fair crack at proving himself to Tuchel.
The 23-year-old was the club’s top goalscorer up until May, despite only featuring for 140 minutes since the Chelsea coach’s arrival in January, but he has surely played his final game for the club after being frozen out.
There will be other clubs who will benefit from his clinical finishing and Chelsea may be eventually rue letting one of their academy graduates leave this summer.