Thomas Tuchel is a Top Tier Strategist

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Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel

San Francisco / May 29, 2021

Chelsea defeated Manchester City 1-0 in the Champions League Final at Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal. This was an upset. Manchester City had higher-skill players at nearly every position. Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel outdid his counterpart Pep Guardiola to win this match. I have been saying in writing on Twitter for a few months that Tuchel's turnaround at Chelsea is very impressive. In my view, today's victory marks him as a top tier strategist in football.

In the early stages, both teams played level and had chances to score. Manchester City probably has the most dynamic attack in the game today. Tuchel created a defensive system to neutralize that. Kai Havertz's goal in the 42nd minute gave Chelsea the lead and Tuchel then changed the emphasis of Chelsea's play. Chelsea did not allow Manchester City to put a shot on goal for the next 40+ minutes. That is very impressive. Most teams in Europe cannot stop Manchester City from putting a shot on goal for 40+ minutes of play. Tuchel outsmarted Pep Guardiola.

If we look back more than one year ago, the media was not impressed by Tuchel's performance at PSG. I did not think Tuchel did anything special as a strategist at PSG. That team ran through Neymar. They were not that impressive defensively. In last season's Champions League Final, Bayern Munich neutralized Neymar by devoting many players to run with him and hound him whenever he got near the ball. Tuchel's PSG did not have an effective response.

After PSG lost that final, it seemed to this observer that PSG's best players stopped responding to Tuchel. He was fired in the middle of the season after the Qatari ownership lost patience.

Tuchel has shown his skills and expertise in the way he turned around Chelsea. Since he replaced Frank Lampard, Chelsea has become more organized defensively and N'Golo Kante has thrived. Chelsea is not that dynamic on attack, but they create scoring opportunities and find ways to finish. This team should sign an out-and-out finisher this transfer window. Imagine if Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe join Chelsea. That would put this club on another level.

That aside, everyone in football should rate Thomas Tuchel as a top tier strategist. He earned this Champions League victory. If given the right pieces, Tuchel can compete with any manager in football.