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Tuchel facing biggest test of Chelsea career after accepting tactical mistakes

Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City in Saturday’s blockbuster title showdown has left Thomas Tuchel facing his first real test as Blues boss

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Tuchel gives verdict on Chelsea’s defeat to Man City

Thomas Tuchel has pretty much enjoyed a dream start to life as Chelsea boss.

Ever since he was handed the reigns at Stamford Bridge, the German boss has quietly evolved the Blues into one of the most complete teams in the Premier League – as well as guiding them to Champions League glory back in May.

His side have already built on that so far this term, as Chelsea have blown teams away in the early weeks of the new season.

The Blues have already dismantled London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham this term.

But Tuchel was outwitted by Pep Guardiola on Saturday – with the City boss finally managing to outmaneuver the German at the fourth attempt.



Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was outwitted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola on Saturday
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Image:

Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)




The blockbuster meeting was billed as the champions versus the champions-elect.

And it was the champions who halted Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season by delivering the type of excellently efficient performance we’ve come to expect from them under the genius of Guardiola.

In truth, the slender scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection of the gulf between the two teams at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Tuchel has been a breath of fresh air since replacing Blues legend Frank Lampard in January.

And he was refreshingly honest after the defeat, blaming himself for getting tactical calls wrong as City’s aggressive press suffocated Chelsea’s usual gameplan.









“I think for 60 minutes or until the goal, we were very strong in the last 20 metres of the field and only there, Tuchel said after the game.

“There were 80 metres were we were not good enough and could not escape the pressure.

“To have ball possession but not only ball possession to switch play and hurt them and to grow in confidence, this never happened in the first half.

“If we wanted to go for long balls to Romelu they were not precise enough, I did not feel the belief that we can really escape with short balls, I did not think that if we play long balls we believed in it, it was doubtful and we were a little bit protecting something, it felt like there was something to lose but we had a lot to win, can happen we lacked a bit of freshness also.

Can Chelsea bounce back from defeat to Manchester City and pip them to the title? Comment below.



A strike from Gabriel Jesus was enough to halt Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season
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Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)




“NG [Kante] ill since some days and I decided to let him start, Jorginho had some problems, Thiago could not start maybe this is on me, not the very best choices.”

Tuchel’s assessment of his own tactical mistakes also makes it a fascinating parallel when you consider that it was Guardiola’s own tactical blunder that handed Chelsea the initiative in the Champions League final back in May.

It’s arguably the first occasion that Tuchel has got things wrong since he was installed at Stamford Bridge.

Regardless of whether that’s up for debate or not, it’s a result that has thrown up what is certainly the first real test of Tuchel’s reign.

Under his tutelage, the Blues have excelled against their rivals in ‘The Big Six’ – something that Lampard struggled with.







Saturday’s result may have bucked that trend, but it’s likely to serve as inspiration for the relentless Blues boss to come again rather than being a knockout blow to Chelsea’s title hopes.

If Tuchel’s side are to build on last year’s European glory with the Premier League title this year, then the German will have to go back to the drawing board and engineer a new way to outfox Guardiola, who certainly appears to have learned his lessons from his three previous encounters with Tuchel last season.

Now, it’s Tuchel’s turn to reflect and plan his next move against the former Barcelona boss.

Guardiola has discovered that it’s not easy to translate domestic dominance into a blueprint for European success during his time at the helm in Manchester.

Tuchel has the opposite problem – and he’ll have to learn from Guardiola’s clinic on Saturday to solve it.


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