EPL

Chelsea's improving defence: Leaky under Lampard but tighter under Tuchel

By Sports Desk January 31, 2021

Thomas Tuchel may be less than a week into his role as Chelsea head coach but some clear patterns are emerging from his first two games in charge - particularly in defence.

Tuchel is the first Chelsea boss to keep a clean sheet in each of his first two Premier League games in charge since Rafael Benitez in November 2012 following a 2-0 win over Burnley on Sunday.

Having conceded 77 goals in 57 Premier League games under predecessor Frank Lampard, this represents a much-needed tightening of the rearguard at the start of Tuchel's reign.

In fact, Burnley's first attempt did not arrive until the 94th minute – their longest ever wait for their first shot in a Premier League game.

It was a similar story in Tuchel's first game when his side stifled Wolves in a 0-0 draw in midweek as their opponents failed to register a single shot on target.

Tuchel's players kept both Burnley and Wolves at arm's length by monopolising possession, boasting 71.1 per cent and 78.9 per cent respectively.

They surely face a greater challenge away from Stamford Bridge against Tottenham on Thursday, but Tuchel is content with how quickly his players appear to have taken on board his ideas.

"The performance itself, for me, was very complete, both defensively and offensively," Tuchel told a post-match media conference.

"We had to be very, very strong physically against many powerful players and with many duels in the air. We had to fight for the second ball, and you have to be very aware for all the second balls that fly back again in your back.

"But we did the work, with the three centre-backs and two sixes absolutely outstanding. The two guys on the sides did a lot of effort to support, and the front three supported the defensive work too.

"We managed to concede only one shot, which was absolutely amazing. And importantly, we never lost patience; we controlled the game, created a lot of chances and were very good in the counter-pressing.

"It is the quality of the players, the structure that we gave them and, from there, they did very well. They have the confidence to keep the ball and the intensity that we put in when we lose it.

"We have intensive runs as well. Ball possession alone means nothing but if we have the ability to control the games then why not use it?"

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