Tuchel sorted out Lampard's leaky defence – Former Chelsea player Newton pinpoints key to German's success

By Sports Desk May 31, 2021

Thomas Tuchel's transformation of Chelsea's defence was the key to their stunning turnaround in fortunes following Frank Lampard's dismissal, according to former Blues midfielder and assistant head coach Eddie Newton.

Lampard was sacked on January 25 after a run of just two wins in eight Premier League games left Chelsea ninth, 11 points off the summit. 

Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel was swiftly appointed and oversaw an impressive second half of the season, culminating in a stunning 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday, Kai Havertz scoring the decisive goal shortly before half-time. 

Tuchel also sealed a top-four finish for Chelsea and guided them to the FA Cup final, although they ultimately lost that to Leicester City. 

Lampard and Tuchel were both in charge for 30 games across all competitions in the 2020-21 campaign, with the Blues conceding just 16 under the German compared to 31 in their former manager's games. 

And Newton, who played for Chelsea between 1990 and 1999 and had spells as assistant head coach in 2012 and 2015-16, is in no doubt the success is down to Tuchel's work on remodelling the backline. 

"Frank wanted to be on the front foot and the team was fundamentally in his personality," Newton told Stats Perform.

"He's a very offensive-thinking person, which leaves gaps at the back and towards the end they were getting punished on a regular basis. What Tuchel has done is put right the defensive side.

"He's also brought back senior players into the fold that were not in favour under Frank. Seniority brings stability and more nous about how to get through games when you're struggling. He brought that in.

"He changed the formation by playing three defenders at the back. It became multi-faceted.

"It's been fantastic stuff since he's come in. He's grabbed the bull by its horns and put down the foundations of what he wants to do.

"He's giving clear, concise information to everyone. Getting the results that he has, the players have bought into him. You can see the fight and that comes from the belief the coach has instilled into that team."

Tuchel once again chose Timo Werner to lead the line against City despite the Germany international's struggles in front of goal this season. 

He arrived from RB Leipzig last June for a fee in the region of £45million (€50m) with a reputation of being one of the most prolific attackers in Europe.

Werner scored 34 goals and supplied 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig in 2019-20, departing as the club's all-time leading scorer with 95 goals in total.

He has not been able to scale the same heights in his maiden campaign in English football, though, the 25-year-old scoring 12 times in 52 appearances across all competitions. He finished the Premier League season with a shot conversion rate of just 7.59 per cent.

While Newton is impressed with Werner's work ethic, he believes Tuchel will need to sign an established central striker for the 2021-22 campaign, with Chelsea having been linked to Harry Kane and Erling Haaland.

"He hasn't played with a number nine," Newton said. "Werner's work rate, even though he's not been clinical in front of goal, is what he admires and I'm sure his team-mates do as well. 

"He's willing to commit for the team. He's selfless, unlike other strikers, and works immensely hard for the team and that's where their defending starts from. It makes it easier for the team to defend.

"It's going to be interesting to see what he does next season. They can't continue without a number nine. Havertz is not a nine and won't be happy playing there. Werner is not a natural number nine; he likes to come in off the left and right. 

"It's going to be interesting to see how Tuchel addresses that situation. If they bring in a number nine, where do you put Havertz and Werner?"

Related items

  • Borussia Dortmund 2-3 Bayern Munich: Lewandowski compounds Hummels nightmare in Klassiker thriller Borussia Dortmund 2-3 Bayern Munich: Lewandowski compounds Hummels nightmare in Klassiker thriller

    Robert Lewandowski scored twice, including a late penalty, as Bayern Munich edged title rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in Saturday's thrilling Klassiker to go four points clear at the Bundesliga summit.

    Lewandowski lost out to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or this week, but he continued to let his football do the talking, taking his goals tally against his former club to 26 – more than he has managed against any other team.

    Both sides created at will in a gripping first half, but Dortmund – who led through Julian Brandt in the fifth minute – paid the price for costly mistakes as Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman ensured Bayern were 2-1 up at half-time.

    A sumptuous Erling Haaland strike got Dortmund back on level terms, but after somehow not winning a penalty of their own, they conceded one themselves and Lewandowski converted to seal the win, setting a Bundesliga away goals record in the process.

    A purposeful Dortmund start brought an early opener as Brandt – later withdrawn due to a nasty head injury – collected Jude Bellingham's lofted pass and finished emphatically having evaded Alphonso Davies.

    But Bayern quickly hit back, Lewandowski clinically finding the bottom-right corner with his record-equalling 117th Bundesliga away goal after Thomas Muller charged down Mats Hummels' clearance attempt.

    Several chances were wasted at either end thereafter, but Bayern managed to take a lead into the break.

    Another botched Dortmund clearance – this time Guerreiro smashing into Hummels' midriff – saw the ball fall for Coman and he drilled home.

    Dortmund restored parity again just after the interval, Haaland curling a gorgeous effort out of Manuel Neuer's reach and in off the right post.

    They should have had the chance to lead a few minutes later but Lucas Hernandez mystifyingly avoided conceding a penalty when appearing to commit a blatant foul on Marco Reus.

    Hummels was not so lucky, however, with a VAR check deeming him to have handled at a corner. Lewandowski squeezed his winning kick just inside the post for another away goal, an outright Bundesliga record for the Pole, and a valuable win for Bayern.

  • Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Mallorca: Russo stops Simeone's men reclaiming second Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Mallorca: Russo stops Simeone's men reclaiming second

    Takefusa Kubo struck a stoppage-time winner as Real Mallorca came from behind to stun Atletico Madrid and clinch a 2-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano. 

    Diego Simeone's side created some decent openings in either half but it was not until Matheus Cunha prodded the ball home in the 68th minute that they finally broke through. 

    However, Franco Russo rose above substitute Mario Hermoso to head home an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining, setting up a tense finale. 

    Kubo, a second-half substitute who is on loan from Atleti's rivals Real Madrid, then raced away on the break in the 91st minute and slid a cool finish under Jan Oblak to seal a surprise victory for Mallorca. 

    Hermoso replaced Stefan Savic due to an apparent hamstring injury in the 11th minute and Atleti were denied an opener shortly after when Angel Correa's volley from six yards was blocked by the chest of Jaume Costa. 

    Renan Lodi was unable to beat Manolo Reina in a one-on-one situation and Mallorca started to become more adventurous – Lee Kang-in seeing a powerful drive pushed away from the top-right corner by Oblak after the half-hour mark. 

    The deadlock was finally broken when Cunha scuffed Correa's cross into the air but volleyed it in while prone on the floor, with Russo's header coming after the ball had crossed the line. 

    However, Russo did end up making a telling impact with his head, steering Lee's free-kick into the bottom-left corner. 

    Kubo then struck the decisive blow in added time, with Joao Felix blazing a glorious chance to equalise over from inside the six-yard box before the final whistle. 

  • Watford 1-3 Manchester City: Silva at the double as champions go top Watford 1-3 Manchester City: Silva at the double as champions go top

    Bernardo Silva scored a stunning goal as Manchester City beat Watford 3-1 at Vicarage Road to go top of the Premier League.

    Raheem Sterling headed in an early opener after being found in acres of space in the box with less than four minutes on the clock before Silva fired in a second at the near post to give City a two-goal lead at the break.

    The in-form Portugal midfielder then stole the show with a superb strike, cutting onto his left foot from the right and curling sweetly into the top-left corner.

    Watford pulled one back through Cucho Hernandez, who steered home the rebound after his initial shot came back off the post, but the champions cruised to a victory that moved them to the summit.

    City nearly took the lead when Aymeric Laporte's header from a corner was cleared off the line, but they opened the scoring in the fourth minute, when Phil Foden's cross from the left was nodded in by an unmarked Sterling at the back post.

    The visitors continued to carve Watford apart with ease after going in front and Daniel Bachmann was forced to make three saves - one from Sterling, two from Jack Grealish - before the 11-minute mark.

    City squandered several more opportunities to extend their advantage, with Grealish particularly wasteful, before Silva lashed home from a tight angle after Bachmann had parried Ilkay Gundogan's low effort in the 31st minute.

    Silva added a third in the 63rd minute with a sumptuous strike into the top corner from just inside the box that left Bachmann rooted to the spot.

    Watford substitute Hernandez reduced the arrears 11 minutes later, squeezing home from a tight angle after his drilled effort across goal struck the upright and fell back into his path, but the Hornets still slumped to a third consecutive defeat.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.