'Let it go': Gary Neville questions one change Tuchel failed to make during Chelsea's loss to Manchester City

Gary Neville wondered why Thomas Tuchel did not alter Chelsea’s formation against Manchester City on the weekend.

Speaking on his own Sky Sports podcast, Neville debated Tuchel’s tactical decision that ultimately handed City the victory last Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s men made a real statement to the rest of the Premier League by defeating the Blues in their own backyard.

Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

A Gabriel Jesus goal in the second half was the only difference in scoreline, but that didn’t reflect the away side’s domination of the match.

Chelsea failed to have a single shot on target all afternoon and only mustered 41% of the possession.

Tuchel decided to deploy three central midfielders, a method that worked so well for 45 minutes away to Tottenham Hotspur the other week.

This tweaked system meant Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner played up front together, a partnership that failed to live up to the hype.

Kai Havertz replaced N’Golo Kante after an hour to make Chelsea more offensive. Although, by then, the result had already been claimed by City.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Chelsea cautious to change

“I thought Chelsea should’ve changed it,” said Neville.

“I thought Tuchel – he is one of the bravest managers in the last 12 months in what he’s done – I just thought when it wasn’t working with the two up top and three in midfield, it was quite clear City were getting far too much joy.

“I thought he might have changed it after 20, 25 minutes.

“Then he obviously let it go and I thought it gave City so much confidence.”

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Giving the reigning league champions even the slightest sense of belief is a dangerous approach.

However, if anyone was to challenge Guardiola at his own game it would have been Tuchel.

The German had beaten the Spaniard three times in a row before the recent meeting.

He also had confidence in the set-up, having taken apart Tottenham with a similar line-up.

But sometimes overthinking can be a dangerous weapon.

Tuchel just needs to dust himself off and move on to Chelsea’s next task, overcoming Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.