Analysis

Tuchel: How goals like our semi-final one are scored

It was the goal that powered Thomas Tuchel to his first final in charge of Chelsea, while at the same time ending opponents Man City’s quest for a quadruple this season. It was also a goal that clearly had some training-ground work behind it, given that similar moves were seen in the same game and matches before.

As the dust settles on the Blues’ semi-final win at the weekend, Tuchel talks more about Hakim Ziyech’s winner at Wembley but explains it is not possible to plan such moves in exact detail.

‘I don’t know what happens in a game; nobody knows before we try it which is a bad thing for us as coaches because we would like to predict but we cannot,’ the head coach begins.

‘The point is to give the players all the tools but they have to use the tools, so is it the moment to make a run or is it the moment to stay in the pocket and turn? There have to be certain principles of the game which we try to implement.

‘On Saturday it was very complex because the opponent demands everything of you. We escaped the pressure very well in the moments before the goal, the acceleration was excellent with Chilly and Mason on the side and then we had the good timing of the runs to attack the back of the central defenders, but there is a lot of work needed to create situations like this.’

Tuchel’s theory is that his teams want to have certain patterns they can rely on because if they have patterns, they can play quicker.

‘You don’t have to always rely on your intuition,’ he adds, ‘so we want to have certain patterns but within the patterns the players need to be free to do their choices and use their creativity. But it must be a reliable environment, it must be reliable distances and reliable behaviour around them to be in the end creative, and to use what they think in the situation is the best choice.

‘It was an excellent goal and right after we had a chance to even score a second one, but in general I was very happy because we worked very hard for this goal with quality and ball possession and we were very brave and active against the ball.’

When it came to planning what challenge Chelsea would face from Man City, Tuchel was not wrong-footed by the eight changes to their line-up Pep Guardiola made from their midweek Champions League outing.

‘I expected it,’ Tuchel says. ‘Like we had to travel from Sevilla, they had to travel from Germany but they had one day less to recover and they had to travel from Manchester to Wembley, so I expected exactly this, that they had fresh legs. Pep has been there now for four or five years so there is not much of a difference in quality no matter who they play, so we expected it more or less like this.’

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