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Uncertainty creeping into Tuchel’s thinking as Chelsea lose again


Even Barkley must have thought his Champions League nights were a thing of the past, but here he was being sent on at the home of Juventus as the European champions desperately tried in vain to avoid back-to-back defeats.

It was one of those rare moments when you secretly yearned for the days of behind-closed-doors-football, when every utterance from a manager could be heard loud and clear.

Tuchel, who is among the more demonstrative on the touchline, may have been drowned out by the home crowd, but his feelings were made perfectly clear when he made a triple substitution just after the hour mark, with Chelsea trailing to Federico Chiesa’s strike.

He had already made his increasingly customary half-time change after seeing an impotent Chelsea dominate possession, but go in at the break fortunate not to be at least one goal behind.

On came Ben Chilwell and 10 seconds later the visitors were behind.

If Tuchel had a kitchen sink in the dugout, he would almost certainly have thrown that on, too – and probably before Saul Niguez.

What must the deadline day signing be thinking right now? In the absence of the injured Mason Mount and Covid-struck N’Golo Kante he still finds himself behind Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Barkley, who would both have been allowed to leave in the summer if buyers had been found.

It sums up Tuchel’s lack of faith in the Spain international but also an uncertainty that seems to have crept into the German’s thinking in recent weeks.

The increasingly frequent half-time changes may point to his ability to change the course of a game, but it also suggests he got his plans wrong in the first place.

That was the case against Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester City in the Premier League.

On this occasion, it felt more like a collective failing with so many players falling below standards.


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