Tuchel explains second-half formation change in Chelsea's FA Cup win over Barnsley
Thomas Tuchel admitted Chelsea had to try a new formation in the second half during the 1-0 win over Barnsley to escape the Championship side’s high pressure.
It is safe to say Barnsley’s intense and aggressive approach took Chelsea by surprise.
The visitors still did very well in terms of keeping the ball as they dominated 71% possession of the ball in the first half.
However, Barnsley created more and better goalscoring opportunities, including the one big chance that forced a brilliant point-blank save from Kepa Arrizabalaga.
At the break, Tuchel made a couple of substitutions, as well as changing the shape of the team.
“Yeah it looks like a good option,” he told Chelsea TV.
“We changed formation to 4-1-4-1 to escape the pressure on our own half a little bit easier.
“[Also] to make it easier to get into the opposition half and get the ball higher up the pitch.”
However, Tuchel believes his team were too “passive” and the passing intensity was not high enough.
“The last 15 to 20 minutes we were too deep,” he added.
“We have a lot of stuff to work on and everybody knows, but we are also happy because we’re through.”
This is certainly not the first time Tuchel opted for the 4-1-4-1 structure, as it was his preferred system back in his Borussia Dortmund days.
It is essentially a more aggressive 4-3-3 with the two central midfielders providing attacking movements within the inside channels, allowing the wingers to be in 1v1 situations against opposition full-backs.
Perhaps due to the players’ lack of experience with the system, it clearly did not work out as well as expected against Barnsley.
But it is still a very interesting option going forward since it will fit more attackers into the team — and Chelsea have an abundance of attacking talents.