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17 Apr, 2021 19:11

‘He praised Guardiola yesterday then beat him up today’: Chelsea fans in thrall to Tuchel as resurgence continues at Wembley

‘He praised Guardiola yesterday then beat him up today’: Chelsea fans in thrall to Tuchel as resurgence continues at Wembley

Thomas Tuchel has been hailed for putting on a tactical masterclass as his Chelsea team shut down Manchester City to book a spot in the FA Cup final.

Chelsea edged out the runaway Premier League leaders 1-0 in their semi-final on Saturday thanks to a 55th-minute strike from Moroccan wing wizard Hakim Ziyech.

READ MORE: Chelsea crush Man City's quadruple dream as Tuchel revolution rolls on

The Blues constrained their rivals with the tenacity and defensive stinginess that has become their hallmark under Tuchel, as dreams of a quadruple for Pep Guardiola’s team came shuddering to a halt at Wembley.

The win for Chelsea was yet more vindication for the decision made by Russian owner Roman Abramovich to wield the axe in January with the team struggling under Frank Lampard.

Since former Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel took the helm, he has set about restoring confidence in the Blues’ talent-laden ranks, moving them back into contention for the Premier League top four and booking semi-final berths in the Champions League and now FA Cup.

Tuchel, 47, will become the first German to manage a team in the world’s oldest cup competition when his team face either Southampton or Leicester City on May 15.

Moreover, Tuchel has suffered just two defeats in his 19 games in charge of the Stamford Bridge outfit, in a sequence which has included victories against teams led by managerial talents Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti – all without conceding a single goal in those games.  

Yet again on Saturday Tuchel got his tactics spot on, having initially raised eyebrows with the inclusion of Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal and the return of the misfiring Timo Werner up front.

In the event, the German forward was instrumental in Chelsea’s winner as he broke down the left before feeding Ziyech for a tap-in.

Prior to the game, Tuchel had hailed Guardiola’s City as the “benchmark” in Europe, although as Blues fans pointed out, that flattery was followed by a brutally efficient display on how to nullify the threat.

Elsewhere, Chelsea fans hailed Tuchel as “world class” for the impact he has made, with the ensuing reversal in fortunes barely conceivable when the German stepped into the dugout with the team stuck in a slump at the end of January.

The fact that Manchester City outclassed Chelsea with embarrassing ease the last time the two teams met towards the end of Lampard's ailing tenure showed even more starkly just how far Tuchel has taken the team as they triumphed against the same opposition on Saturday.  

Chelsea reached the same stage of the FA Cup last season under Lampard before losing to London rivals Arsenal in a bitterly disappointing display, although this time around they will surely be hot favorites against either Leicester or Southampton, not least because of Tuchel’s tactical acumen.

Next up for Chelsea are Premier League meetings with Brighton and top-four rivals West Ham, before they travel to Spain for a Champions League semi-final first-leg against Real Madrid.