Thomas Tuchel makes Champions League history
Chelsea wouldn’t be in the Champions League final without
Thomas Tuchel. Even the most ardent of Frank Lampard supporter,
of which there are understandably many, would accept that.
The German coach has transformed the Blues since being
appointed at the end of January. The defensive fragility that
consistently undermind Lampard’s reign has been replaced by a
stoic, hard-nosed and relentless desire to keep clean sheets.
That has been the foundation of everything Chelsea have achieved
under Tuchel. His side is irritatingly difficult to break down and
overcome. Atletico Madrid discovered that earlier in this season’s
Champions League. Now so have their more illustrious and
grandiose neighbours Real.
Chelsea did need Edouard Mendy to produce two match-altering
stops last night, but there is no doubt the blues were by far the
better team across 180 minutes of tense Champions League semi-
Next comes Istanbul and for Tuchel a little piece of European Cup
history: no manager has ever reached back-to-back finals in the
competition with two different clubs.
Eden Hazard shows why he wasn’t right for Reall
Sorry, Eden, but white doesn’t quite suit you. Not in the same way
blue did. And especially when you’re playing at Stamford Bridge.
There’s a sense the Belgian star may know that too. Things
haven’t worked out for Hazard since he left Chelsea for Real
Madrid in the summer of 2019. Los Blancos were the club of his
boyhood dreams but the transfer has turned into something of a
Hazard has been beset with injury issues for the best part of two
seasons; he has only just cracked the 40-appearance mark for the
La Liga giants and has scored only four goals.
Real expected more, that’s why they paid Chelsea £130million for
the 30-year-old. Yet there is a nagging feeling the Madrid-based
club never truly understood what they were buying.
Hazard is a wonderfully gifted footballer, perhaps only matched by
Lionel Messi in the European game for pure natural ability. But he
has never possessed the same ruthless mindset as the Argentine
star or Cristiano Ronaldo.
From the outside, it’s clear Hazard loves his football. He enjoys the
thrill of beating opponents, of squeezing the ball out of the tightest
spaces. It’s not his everything, though. He is a family man first and
foremost, someone who enjoys the quiet life away from the pitch.
He is not all-consumed by the game which is why, just moments
after Real had been eliminated from the Champions League by his
former club, Hazard had no issue having a laugh and a joke with
several of his jubilant former Chelsea teammates.
Naturally, that has gone down awfully in Spain with El Chiringuito
even going as far as to say Hazard should never play for Los
Blancos again. At least he’ll always be welcomed back to Stamford
Jorginho’s true colours shine through
The Italian midfielder has not had it easy at Chelsea. He was
signed to be the fulcrum of Maurizio Sarri’s side but became a
rather obvious scapegoat when things didn’t quite work out under
the Italian coach.
His position in the team under Lampard, meanwhile, was never
secure. There would be spells during which Jorginho appeared
important and others in which he was on the fringes of the first-
It’s been different with Tuchel. The German coach tried to take
Jorginho to Paris Saint-Germain last summer so there was already
a clear appreciation for the 29-year-old’s talents. It’s now clear
As part of the double six alongside N’Golo Kante, Jorginho has
been excellent in recent weeks. He was once again against Real –
there was one perfectly-timed challenge on Karim Benzema that
halted a promising Real Madrid counter-attack.
And when the final whistle was blown, Jorginho, who was given
the captain’s armband after Cesar Azpilicueta was brought off,
sank to his knees on the Stamford Bridge pitch, hunched over and
appeared to shed a few tears.
Relief, joy, and more all wrapped into one emotional moment.
Thiago Silva and Thomas Tuchel go again
Last August, both Silva and Tuchel endured the crushing
disappointment of losing a Champions League final. Both were
then at PSG and ended up beaten by Bayern Munich when it
That game proved to be Silva’s last for the Ligue 1 giants and he
signed for Chelsea a week later. The 36-year-old has since become
an integral part of the Blues defence, his experience and leadership
qualities invaluable in a young squad.
Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge came much later, and only after
he was sacked by PSG at Christmas. But as highlighted earlier, his
impact has been huge.
There appears to be huge and genuine respect between the 47-
year-old coach and the Brazil international and more than a little bit
of affection, which was evident after Mason Mount struck
Chelsea’s second goal last night against Real Madrid.
The academy graduate’s close-range finish effectively confirmed it
would be the Blues that take on Premier League rivals Manchester
City in Istanbul at the end of this month. And while the majority of
the Chelsea players headed to the corner to celebrate, Silva went to
There he received a quick peck on the cheek from Tuchel and the
two then shared a warm embrace. Both are back in the Champions
League final, they will hope for a very different experience this time
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