Interview

Tuchel focused on the big picture

Thomas Tuchel has discussed the importance of ignoring snap-judgements from outside, whether positive or negative, and keeping his mind on the long-term goals for the team and the club.

Our German head coach has been receiving plenty of praise after his unbeaten start to life at Stamford Bridge, but is aware opinions in football can be fickle and quickly change. It may be a cliche, but in many people’s eyes you are only as good as your last result.

However, Tuchel knows that it is his job to block out those opinions and ignore the weekly verdicts on his team’s performance, focusing on the big picture and overall development rather than individual matches.

‘The point is not to get too affected, also in moments where you have good results, and to keep your feet on the ground,’ he said. ‘This is the big challenge because we know very well that we get judged on results. If you play in the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League in the same moment you get judged every three days.

‘This is how it is and this is not always easy and not always justified, this judgement, but that’s the way it is. For me personally, the point is to not get affected by that and to know what we are doing and to know how we live together and work together every day at Cobham.

‘This is about more than just the 22 players, the goalkeepers and the staff. There are almost 100 people here doing everything so that we can win every three days. To be part of this club and to be part of Cobham, of this structure, this is the goal. To do my best to keep a good atmosphere flowing and to keep a good energy and to keep everybody pushing to their limits and to be myself in a good mood and a positive inspiration for people.

‘This is the target and then hopefully you see it, not in every match, but in the majority of the matches, and that leads to results. That is the ideal world that we work for and then I am ready to be judged on that, but I know that outside I will be judged for every substitution, for every line-up before the match, after the match. This is how it is and this is the big thing around football, but hopefully I don’t let myself be affected too much by it.’

Another person who is benefitting from ignoring outside judgement and focusing on the job at hand is Timo Werner. Tuchel has previously spoken about how much the forward does for the team, even if his scoring rate has slowed since his early run of goals for the Blues, and reiterated his faith in Werner’s abilities.

Our head coach insists our number 11 is a born goalscorer, but has become a victim of our own success recently as teams play increasingly defensively against us, nullifying Werner’s biggest strengths in the process.

‘Maybe it’s also our fault because we have a lot of possession and at the moment we push opponent teams very deep in their half so spaces are not too big. The biggest strength of Timo is to attack the space behind the last line. In the dominant game we play at the moment it is natural that the spaces are closed by the opponents, like in the game against Atletico.

‘Is there any team out there that can close the spaces like Atletico? So that was not exactly the opponent you wish for Timo to show all his skills. What is left for him is to not lose faith and to work for the team. This is what he’s doing and we are reflecting a lot about this. We are working a lot with him on body positioning and he will have more composure the more chances we bring him in these tight spaces, because there are also solutions in these tight spaces to use his speed over the first metres, to use his acceleration.

‘It’s not easy for him and I can totally see this and that’s why I’m very patient and I’m very supportive and I believe in his potential and his character and his goalscoring skills. In my experience that is normally something you either have or you don’t have and he clearly has it. Since he was 14 or 15 years old he has scored so many goals every year, so he has it and I am sure he will not lose it.’

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