Thomas Tuchel is happy with how quickly his Chelsea players are learning his tune and believes the key to sustained performance is mutual trust and honest reflective learning.
The new Blues boss has picked up seven points from his opening three games in charge, with each display more impressive, culminating in Thursday night’s victory away at Tottenham.
While results and points are imperative in the short-term to propel the team up the Premier League table, the German is sure that only improved performances will sustain our challenge to finish in the top four for the third successive season.
In order to drill down to the finer details, a strong relationship between the coach and the dressing room is key.
‘Results don’t follow all the time in football,’ explained Tuchel. ‘That’s hard to accept for a coach who wants to control and plan everything but in football, and especially in the Premier League, you have to accept you cannot control the result.
‘What we can do is take care about our performance and for that we need a good relationship between the players and me. We need to trust each other so we can talk always about the performance and then the results will hopefully follow.’
In order to achieve high-level performance, Tuchel and his coaching staff first have to explain to the players what that looks like before measuring and reflecting on the plan with what actually happened on the field. That honest reflective learning, according to Tuchel, is the only way a team can correct their mistakes and continually improve.
‘I had moments in the past where I went into the dressing room after a draw or even a defeat and I was praising the performance but I have to prove it,’ he continued.
‘We try to create performance and for that you have to be clear to each player what performance is – what I need to do, what the manager expects from me and why, what the team expects from me as a player and how we play together as a group. In the end, it’s like an orchestra so we have to follow a certain rhythm, discipline, speed and style. This has to be clear to everybody.
‘There will be matches where we win and we will be absolutely unhappy so we will show the team why we are unhappy and why we are just lucky to win the game. But if you ask me if I prefer to win lucky or to lose undeserved then I go for a lucky win of course because with a win it’s always easier to improve.’
Tuchel has been encouraged by the collective characteristics he has seen among the group during his first 11 days in charge as he works to rebuild momentum and positive energy.
‘We are here to create performance on the level that increases the possibility to win,’ he added. ‘There’s not much more we can do but then the players jump in with the atmosphere and energy, what the team can do more than just to be 11 guys out there on the pitch.
‘This is what I feel right now is happening and what the team brings out in itself, a certain glue to stick together, to overcome obstacles and difficult minutes, to be ready to work for each other.
‘All this is included in performance but sometimes you can only smell it. You either feel it on the sideline or you don’t feel it but it’s hard to explain and prove in statistics and numbers and behaviours.'