Thomas Tuchel knows that numbers matter in football and so Chelsea’s contrasting win ratio with and without Mason Mount in the team has most certainly been noted by the coaching staff in recent weeks.
The England midfielder has started nine games for the Blues in all competitions this term, with the team unbeaten in winning eight and drawing the other of that collection.
That 89 per cent win percentage compares less favourably to when he is out of the team; in 13 matches where he has either began on the bench or not featured at all, we have lost two and drawn five, with a win ratio of just 46 per cent.
The fact that his team are almost twice as likely to win when Mount starts has not been lost on Tuchel, who keeps a close eye on such statistics.
‘Maybe it’s luck or maybe it’s the effect he has to be the edge and to put the edge to our side,’ said the Blues head coach.
‘We know about this because it’s a kind of statistic that is sometimes quite interesting, like who is on the pitch when we win, who starts when we win, who ends the matches when we win. We are aware of these statistics.’
While perhaps having some impact on his thinking, Tuchel admitted that it was just one part of a much bigger picture, with the effect of one player rarely more important than the team as a whole. However, he was quick to praise the 22-year-old for setting standards both in application and quality.
‘I first heard about these statistics in American basketball, where the influence from one player is much higher because it’s five against five compared to 11 against 11 playing with your foot,’ continued the boss.
‘It’s not a statistic that guarantees you to start because this would be maybe a bit too easy but it’s something that we cannot deny.
‘To have Mason brings a certain attitude, aura and mentality on the field and it’s nice that he has this winning ratio. We are aware of it and it’s full credit to him.’
Our difference in performance without the midfielder among the starters therefore makes Mount a difficult man to leave out.
‘It’s very hard to drop him because even when he has not-so-good games, you still always get full energy, positivity and a wonderful approach to the game,’ added Tuchel.
‘He is very passionate and has almost a deep love with the game, always ready to give everything to contribute fully. That’s why it is hard to drop him but sometimes we do.
‘He came back from an injury and we felt him a bit tired, then he also had his tooth surgery so sometimes we have to and it’s the same criteria for everybody, to fight for their place. This is where we are.’