'A strange one': TalkSPORT pundit can't believe Tuchel left his 'most reliable' forward on the bench vs City

Danny Murphy was totally miffed by Thomas Tuchel’s decision to start Mason Mount on Chelsea’s bench against Manchester City.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the former Liverpool midfielder quizzed Tuchel’s call to leave Mount out of the initial line-up last Saturday.

No show from the number 19

The 23-year-old began the significant Premier League encounter at the Etihad as a substitute, having played just over an hour against Tottenham Hotspur three days before.

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Many eyebrows were raised when the team sheets came to light on the weekend.

Mount not picked for arguably the biggest game of Chelsea’s season? From the offset, it seemed a strange call from the manager.

Instead, Tuchel decided to field a front three of Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, a trio that had never previously all started a match together.

Why was Mount excluded?

Before the contest, the German coach explained his reasoning behind dropping the club’s third top goalscorer.

“Also Christian and Hakim for their fresh legs and because they’re a bit more runners than for example Mason,” said the Blues boss.

His risky manoeuvre did not pay off, however.  

Whilst Lukaku failed to convert his one clear-cut chance, Pulisic and Ziyech unsuccessfully managed to serve the striker.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

All three struggled to maintain possession, a death note for anyone facing Pep Guardiola’s overpowering group.

City eventually made Tuchel pay the price for his poor planning, thanks to a precise Kevin De Bruyne strike 20 minutes from the end.

Tuchel got it wrong

Mount did feature for the final flourishes, but the tie was already dead and buried by the time he entered the fray.

“I would say that it was the first time I’ve really looked at a Tuchel team and I’ve thought to myself, what is he thinking there?” commented Murphy on the Tuchel’s debatable tactics.

“Because Mason Mount is probably your most reliable forward player in terms of keeping the ball when it goes into him; he left him on the bench.

“Leaving Mason Mount out and not bringing him on until five, six minutes to go.

“That was a strange one for me because he is arguably their most reliable player in terms of possession. So, that was a strange one.”

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Tuchel will probably not make the same mistake again by dropping Mount for the grandest occasions.

Unfortunately, he missed arguably the most important of the lot, an omission that’s more than likely ended Chelsea’s league title charge.

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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.