Tuchel admits he was surprised by Chelsea star's incredible defensive work rate

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel highlighted Antonio Rudiger’s “invisible work” off the ball and admitted he was surprised by the defender’s movement.

The Blues have had the best defensive record in the Premier League so far.

They have only conceded four goals from 12 games of which only one was from an open-play situation.

The key to their impressive defence, according to Tuchel, is a mix of the system, the team’s quality, commitment, and mentality, as well as a bit of luck.

The German also pointed out the work his players do on the pitch, which often goes unnoticed, and used Rudiger’s instinctive defensive movement as an example.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

“If you look at the goal from N’Golo at Leicester, I was surprised when I saw it again and realised Toni Rudiger was the first one to be there and congratulate and hug him,” Tuchel said during Friday’s press conference.

“How fast did that happen?! [Kante] scored from the 18-yard box!

“When you look at it in detail, while N’Golo is driving with the ball, you will see Toni is closing the space and doing this kind of invisible work to close a striker down, [Ademola] Lookman.

“If the shot was blocked, and the ball came into that area, Toni is the first one to counter-press.

“He takes the responsibility so Lookman cannot get the ball freely, turn and initiate a counter-attack that ends with [Jamie] Vardy scoring.

“This is the kind of work where we are taking care of our roles.

“Toni’s work was very humble because it’s not often N’Golo scores from 18 yards on his left foot.

“He did not just step back and watch, he did his part.”

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea are, of course, very lucky to have such an incredible goalkeeper in Edouard Mendy.

But the Senegal international’s shot-stopping ability is far from being the only reason Chelsea have had joint-most clean-sheets (8) in the league.

In fact, only Manchester City (19) have conceded fewer shots on targets than Chelsea (34) this term.

Their dealing with potential threats before it becomes actual problems, like what Rudiger did, is one of the keys to their success.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.