If reports are true that a number of Chelsea players became frustrated with Frank Lampard’s tactical approach, they are in for a wild ride under new boss Thomas Tuchel; a tactical visionary.
The German coach, famed for his versatile and adaptable approach to the beautiful game, has been known to employ up to six formations in one match.
While Lampard is in the early stages of his managerial journey, Tuchel can draw on over 10 years of senior experience, while he also spent time learning the hopes in charge of various youth teams in Germany.
He’s a complex manager with a big personality, which has inevitably led to clashes with senior figures, and subsequently his departures at Borussia Dortmund and most recently PSG, who terminated his contract on Christmas Eve.
Yet, while it’s difficult not to feel sympathy towards Lampard, Chelsea now possess one of the finest and most fascinating managerial minds in the game today.
The Athletic’s German football expert Raphael Honigstein has provided a compelling insight into Tuchel’s training methods, involving tennis balls and reconfiguring the dimensions of a football pitch.
“Tuchel had his men play on pitches with no width or no depth,” reveals Honigstein.
“He made them take extra touches with their knees or had defenders carry tennis balls to stop them grappling with defenders.
“Once, when he wanted them to play more vertically in attack, he cut off the corners to turn the final third of the training pitch into a triangle.
“It was all done to make training so difficult and mentally exhausting that the actual games felt easy in comparison.”
Tuchel is loyal to the theory of “differential learning”, created by scientist Wolfgang Schollhorn, whereby players are confronted with a variety of mentally demanding problems.
In Tuchel’s case that could involve the above examples of altering the pitch and making his players clutch tennis balls. It’s designed to challenge players, to make them think. So when they come to competitive action, in theory they should be well equipped to face any dilemmas they may face.
Tuchel isn’t wedded to a specific style, meaning it’s difficult to predict how Chelsea will line-up under his watch but going on the likes of Dortmund and PSG, the Blues will no doubt be dynamic, adventurous and attack-minded.
It’s going to be a rollercoaster, and we simply can’t wait.