When Thomas Tuchel was appointed Chelsea manager in January, he vowed to “build a team nobody wants to play against”.
And just four months on from that proclamation, things are seriously taking shape for the German.
He’s guided Chelsea to two finals, including a second consecutive Champions League final for him personally, and has created a team built on defensive resilience and swift, devastating attacking play.
**Update** In four months at Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel has now beaten Zinedine Zidane, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone (X2), José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti! And without conceding a single goal either in those seven matches!
— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) May 5, 2021
The 47-year-old had only recently been sacked by Paris Saint-Germain when he was appointed as Frank Lampard’s successor at the end of January.
Chelsea was languishing in ninth and seriously struggling, but Tuchel has initiated quite the turnaround. But how has it done it? Well, some insight on the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz boss’ unique training sessions has emerged.
According to German football journalist Raphael Honigstein of The Athletic, Tuchel adopts an approach whereby the training is more complicated then the matches.
In the past, he’s had his players play on pitches with no width or depth and even cut off the corners off the pitch to create a triangle in the final third.
He’s even had defenders carrying tennis balls to stop them grappling with opponents, train on slippery surfaces and only able to control the ball with their knees.
His methods done “to make training so difficult and mentally exhausting that the actual games felt easy in comparison”.
— ًEllis. (@UtdEIIis) May 5, 2021
Tuchel is a subscriber to Professor Wolfgang Schollhorn’s “differential learning” theory and is constantly trying to find new ways to challenge his players.
At first it takes some adjusting, but slowly but surely they buy into his ideas.
“At first, we wondered what these things had to do with football, but we realised quickly that they worked,” said Neven Subotić, who worked with him at Dortmund.
In one of his first sessions at Chelsea, the Blues were spotted playing with a size 1 football to improve concentration.
Tuchel made players train with (what look to be like) a size 1 football earlier.
He’s reportedly known for making previous players train with tennis balls too.
The thought process behind it, is that players need to increase their concentration whilst using a smaller ball. pic.twitter.com/sP5FEwq5Yi
— allthingschels (@allthingschels1) January 29, 2021
Chelsea players have adapted to his way of working in quick fashion and they could now be set for a hugely successful season under Tuchel.