If you’re a Chelsea fan who is into their omens and what has happened previously then you need to look no further than the two times Thomas Tuchel has already got one over on Pep Guardiola since arriving in London.
Chelsea beat Man City 1-0 in the FA Cup semi final on April 17 and a fortnight later, repeated the trick with a 2-1 victory at the Etihad in the Premier League that delayed City’s title party for about three days.
It’s Tuchel 2-0 Guardiola heading into Saturday’s monster Champions League final in Porto. City have wrapped up the Premier League title while Chelsea stuttered over the line, losing three of their last four games including the FA Cup final against Leicester City.
But that won’t count for anything in a one off game of such magnitude as Chelsea aim for a second Champions League crown, having previously won it in 2012. While for City, it could be a historic first European crown and the trophy that Pep Guardiola has been craving ever since he took over at the Etihad.
Both managers know that their previous encounters since last month will count for very little at the Estadio do Dragao on Saturday but if there is a potential blueprint for a Chelsea success, where could it have come from?
The victory at the Etihad saw the Blues recover from going a goal down and Sergio Aguero fluffing a penalty in first half stoppage time, goals from Hakim Ziyech and a 92nd minute winner from Marcos Alonso gave Chelsea a crucial three points in their ultimately successful chase for a top four finish.
After the near disastrous end to the first period, Tuchel revealed how he managed to turn the ship around and in the second half, the visitors were dominant.
“It was a tactical match and you could see, well I had the feeling that we were a bit tired, a bit slow in decision making, a bit too rushed in decisions, rushed into our attacks, we lost the ball too early, but there was no big problem,” he said.
“At half time we said to ourselves ‘let’s continue like it is 0-0, don’t lose our heads now because of the last three minutes, take it as a 0-0 and from there we go.'”
“The momentum changed completely with the goal. I could feel it, the momentum was growing, the confidence was growing and we were adding more and more quality and pressure.
“We never stopped attacking, I am very aware and I will never deny that you need a little bit of luck in any match in football and we had it in the second half. It was a huge win, big reaction and a fantastic team performance in the second half.”
“Everybody who was out there gave every drop of intensity and work rate. This is what you need to feel it, really feel the strong bond and strengthen your bond. These experiences, these wins, these big games and you need to be a bit lucky, like I said, this is nothing to be ashamed of.
“Especially because the players do everything they can to force luck on our side. This is what it is and now we catch the momentum and we have another big win, from there on, it increases our self-confidence in a healthy way.”
That is similar to what he said after the FA Cup win at Wembley when Ziyech was on target once again to score the winner.
Being brave in possession, not being passive and taking the game to City is seemingly Tuchel’s modus operandi when he comes up against City who he has repeatedly described as the “benchmark” in world football.
“If you play against Pep you know you’re playing at the highest level in Europe because he’s been on the sideline at Barcelona, Bayern, and now Man City,” Tuchel said after the Wembley win.
“He is the benchmark with his teams, you can see that with the Premier League.
“Our target was to close the gap for 90 minutes because it’s possible in football if you arrive with good momentum.
“I am very, very happy and proud with the performance of our team because we played with a lot of courage, we were very self-confident and were brave with and against the ball.”
Tuchel has shown he is not one to panic change things if it isn’t going his team’s way during a game. He has a philosophy that he will stick to and, for the most part since he replaced Frank Lampard in January, it has worked.
There have been occasions where his pragmatism has come at a cost, chiefly the FA Cup final defeat to Leicester City when he left things too late having gone behind to Youri Tielemans’ superb goal.
Then against Aston Villa in the final match of the Premier League season where the head coach flicked on “all out attack” and ended up with Reece James playing in central midfield and six attackers in front of him.
We all know that the Chelsea head coach is a deep thinker and speaking after the win in the Premier League against City, said he spends 90 per cent of his time working on offensive solutions and 10 per cent on any other business.
So he’ll have something lined up for the Estadio do Dragao, you can be sure of it. But we have already been given a potential hint as to what that might be from his previous comments on the Premier League champions.
Source by Football London