Man of the match against Wolves on Wednesday night, Callum Hudson-Odoi, caught the eye despite playing in unfamiliar positions.
The 20-year-old was started at right wing-back by Thomas Tuchel in his first game as manager and was then switched to the left late in the game when Christian Pulisic came on. The match finished 0-0 and there were not a great deal of chances although they increased in frequency for Chelsea towards the end. A shot from Hudson-Odoi was one of them after he cut in from the left but that was well saved.However it was not only his attacking work that earned him man of the match, and his wing-back defensive duties were particular in evidence towards the end when he got back to snuff out a dangerous Wanderers attack.‘I spotted it straight away,’ Hudson-Odoi recalled afterwards. ‘I said to myself I have to get back there as quick as possible and I gave all my effort to do so and try to get a little touch on the ball to take it away.‘It was something new for me,’ he acknowledged about the position he was asked to play.‘It was my first time trying it yesterday [in training] and I felt alright playing in it, it wasn’t a problem for me. It was good trying to play that position and no matter where the manager asks me to play I will try to do my best.’
He went on to explain how Tuchel asked him to attack, the part of his role he was able to do most often against an opposition side that played very defensively.‘He wants me to be as direct and to keep getting at full-backs and defenders as much as possible.‘He knows all the attacking players can be free and score goals and he wants us to be direct and keep pushing and try to get goals and get assists. He told me to work up and down that line, be direct and stay as high and wide as possible.‘I try to break the line and keep doing different movements to get the ball. He wants us to keep going in behind and find good passes, find different ways of breaking teams instead of trying to beat them every time with the ball.
’I felt really fit throughout the whole game, I felt really sharp, trying to be direct as much as possible and trying to get at my defender as much as possible, and I feel as a collective we did really well.‘We were working hard, trying to break their back five as quick as possible. At times it was very difficult. When we were getting behind them they were recovering so well it was hard to make that extra pass to break it.‘I think we have to be more clinical with our crossing and more clinical with our passing. End product just to finish it off. We can hopefully improve on it on Sunday.’
Tuchel in his post-match analysis said he was pleased with the team’s energy and intensity, and the organisation on the pitch, and Hudson-Odoi reported on some of the words from the new man at the helm since he arrived.‘At half-time he told us to keep the same mentality and to keep what we were doing because we were playing really well, working really hard and the intensity of the game was really high for us. So we have to keep pushing and keep pushing and to try to come out with the same mentality and the same intensity and try to get the goal.‘From the start he said just go out there and play with aggression and intensity, and you could see on the pitch that we did that and we were unfortunate not to get that goal.‘I felt that it was a game we deserved to win, we had the right mentality from the start. We will reflect on it and try to be more clinical in front of goal.’