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.
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.
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.”
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.
The Chelsea Chronicle View
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.