Thomas Tuchel told Rio Ferdinand on BT Sport that reintroducing Cesar Azpilicueta into the Chelsea starting line-up was a priority from day one.

The Blues captain had become a peripheral figure towards the end of Frank Lampard’s rein.

Reece James had emerged as the first-choice right-back following his breakthrough 2019/20 campaign.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay of Manchester United mark Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James of Chelsea during a corner in the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 24, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

With Lampard’s departure and Tuchel’s arrival, wholesale changes were put into place.

Players who had previously been demoted were promoted once again.

Antonio Rudiger, MArcos Alonso and Jorginho and Azpilicueta all heavily benefited from the German coaches’ revised methods.

The 31-year-old Spaniard has now started every Premier League game under Tuchel as part of a back-three.

Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 15: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea shakes hands with Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea following the Premier League match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on February 15, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

This new formation has also come as part of the Tuchel package.

However, he himself insisted this was not the most crucial modification that needed to be made.  

“The most important thing is not the formation,” Tuchel told Ferdinand.

“It is how we live it, how everybody respects the principles. How we attack, how we defend, in the formation’s that we play. This is much more important than the formation.

“We can be strong in any formation. So now, we started with a three and a double sux because of the characteristics of the players.

“I wanted to have Azpi on the field. That was the first thing for me. I wanted the captain on the field.”

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Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel (L) talks to Chelsea’s Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge in London on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by FRANK AUGSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Before Tuchel took charge, Azpilicueta had only made nine league appearances for Lampard.

 Up until this season, the £6.5m (BBC Sport) signing from Marseille has been an ever-present in Chelsea’s team.

This mini-stint out of the team is understandably considering the fresh young blood coming through.

But Tuchel’s mantra is to use his experienced players as much as possible alongside their youthful comrades.

Azpilicueta above anyone can be thankful for this.

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I think it was pretty plain to see Azpi’s pace was evading him and full-back no longer suited his skill set.

However, it takes a quality manage to not only recognise this, but find a solution to the problem, which is exactly what Tuchel has achieved.

He might just have added a couple extra years onto Azpilicueta’s career.

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