Thomas Tuchels plans to overhaul Chelseas foundations and bring success to Stamford Bridge – Football.London


It was confirmed on Monday morning that Frank Lampard was to be sacked as Chelsea manager with his replacement expected to be former Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel.

Tuchel was relieved from his role as PSG manager last month following two-and-a-half years with the Parisian club. His sacking came despite clinching the Ligue 1 title in both seasons in charge – albeit with the caveat of last year’s success coming on a PPG basis.

Yet, a failure to deliver the Champions League in that time, along with an inconsistent start to this season and a sometimes strained relationship with the club’s hierarchy ultimately proved costly.

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Despite this unceremonious end to his time at PSG, Tuchel’s managerial pedigree cannot be doubted and he looks to be somewhat of a coup for the Blues.

With his appointment imminent, let’s look at what his key managerial principles are and how they could impact things at Stamford Bridge.

Whilst Tuchel did an admiral job at Mainz and a standout one at Dortmund, it’s best to focus on his time in Paris due to that being both his most recent role and because of the similarities between the playing profiles there when compared to the ones currently at Chelsea.


With PSG, Tuchel predominantly utilised a 4-3-3 formation, although he would sometimes adjust to a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 depending on players available and strength of the opposition.

The benefit of the 4-3-3 formation was that it allowed him to field his most dangerous attackers such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Ángel Di María in advanced positions that allowed them to have the most penetrative threat to the opposition’s goal.

Thomas Tuchel has been appointed Chelsea head coach
Thomas Tuchel is set to be appointed Chelsea head coach
(Image: Paris Saint-Germain Football/PSG via Getty Images)

Behind them, he’d usually deploy a more conservative midfield three who’d be tasked with contributing in build-up play, but also protecting the side in transitions.

Width tended to come through the wing-backs pushing high whilst wide forwards drifted into dangerous central avenues.

With the ball

Tuchel is a brave and experimental tactician, therefore his system can vary. Yet, at PSG it was best summarised as a ‘positional’ system which meant that players usually operated within set positions on the pitch in a structure that was designed so that the player in possession should always have more than one passing option available.

A snapshot of PSG's positional system
A snapshot of PSG’s positional system

As a result, ball dominance a key ingredient and last season, only three sides from across Europe’s big five leagues posted a higher possession average than PSG’s of 64.3%.

The goalkeeper and defenders are important in the build-up phase and therefore have to be comfortable in possession. The recruitment of Thiago Silva, Tuchel’s former player, and Edouard Mendy look to have been beneficial with this in mind.

Despite the positional play set up that was utilised, creative freedom was still bestowed to PSG’s most influential and dangerous attackers.

Notably, Neymar and Mbappe ranked inside top ten of Europe’s big five leagues for the highest average number of dribbles attempted on a per 90 basis last season – minimum 1200 minutes played.

As a result, Chelsea’s most dangerous forwards shouldn’t fear being shackled by any tactical system utilised.

Without the ball

Under Tuchel, PSG were aggressive and relenting in their pursuit to regain the ball from the opposition. This tied in not only with their ambition to dominate possession but also with an aspiration of forcing possession turnovers in advanced areas of the pitch, leading to goalscoring opportunities.

To do so, without the ball, they took up a shape that better resembled a 4-4-2 set up. This structure limited space through the middle of the pitch and made it difficult for opposition defenders to play progressive passes forward.

PSG forwards could then set traps, making the opposition play the ball wider where they can be pressed and forced into a mistake in tight areas.

Last season, only La Liga outfit Getafe posted a higher Passes Per Defensive Action (PPDA) average than PSG. For those who don’t know, PPDA is a metric used to analyse how aggressively a team press the ball high up the pitch.


On top of the above which details some of his tactical beliefs and philosophies, another crucial aspect of his profile is his capacity to manage big names.

(Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

He was popular at both Mainz and Dortmund, however, at PSG, it was impressive how he was able to govern a dressing full of legitimate footballing superstars and keep a real equilibrium for most of his time in charge.

A fault of Lampard’s seemed to be his tendency to cross the line in terms of publicly critiquing his players, and failing to get the best from out of form stars.

Lampard shouldn’t be judged too harshly on this given his relative lack of experience at this level. However, Tuchel may only be five years his senior, but he has much greater experience of handling sensitive egos and elite talent.

This will be key in not only aiding the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in rediscovering their best form but also improving the morale of the whole Chelsea team, therein creating a more harmonious and hopefully, successful side.

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