‘A solution’: Tuchel shares the reason why he changed Chelsea’s formation against Tottenham


Thomas Tuchel explained that the number of absent players made him alter Chelsea’s formation against Tottenham Hotspur last night.

As quoted by The 5th Stand, the German coach said he needed to switch his side’s makeup in the Carabao Cup semi-final to cope with the loss of several fallen soldiers.

Chelsea chop and change to defeat Tottneham

Tuchel lost Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante to a positive covid test ahead of the tie, whilst Trevoh Chalobah, Andreas Christensen, Reece James and Ben Chilwell all missed out through injury.

Aside from Kante, all the other causalities were members of the defensive unit, meaning the Blues had very few options in this area of the field.

Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso started the cup clash yesterday, despite the trio lasting the 90 minutes against Liverpool just days before.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Malang Sarr replaced Chalobah in the back three and Hakim Ziyech began the game as an untraditional wing-back.

However, as the contest progressed, Tuchel decided to change the team’s approach, to try and adhere to his player’s skill sets.

“We played 4-4-2 when we had the ball because there were not five left who play in a back five,” revealed the Blues boss.  

“After Thiago being positive yesterday, we informed the team that maybe this is a solution for today and took some minutes on the training pitch to walk through the principles.”

Tuchel takes control

Up until Wednesday’s 2-0 victory in the capital, Tuchel had never once wavered from his preferred system as Chelsea manager.

He has always favoured a variation on the 3-4-2-1 set-up, with most of the onus on a three-man back-line and wing-backs.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Yet, the 48-year-old demonstrated his tactical nous by challenging type and trying something new.

As it transpired, Spurs could not cope with their guest’s altered structure and handed over the tie as a consequence.

An early deflected strike from Kai Havertz and a comical own goal gave Chelsea a huge leg-up ahead of the reverse fixture next week.

Antonio Conte was not pleased by Tottenham’s performance; Tuchel probably couldn’t have been happier.

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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.