One big decision was in midfield, where it was clear from the fact that all three first team midfielders were fit that one was going to be left out. In the end it was Jorginho, and in quotes from the official Chelsea app picked up by SI.com, the Tuchel explained why he’d gone for Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante as his midfield pair.
“Everybody is an option and it’s not easy to choose We went with the characteristic of players, Kovacic and N’Golo for example, rather than Jorginho because they’re more dribblers and drivers than passers and I think it suits that a bit more in midfield.”
Manchester City are a very particular opposition, both in terms of style and in terms of quality, so we can well believe that. It was also a surprise to see Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic out wide, with Mason Mount benched.
Tuchel’s explanation here pointed more towards using fresh players, but he also noted that his chosen pair are “more runners” – in terms of dribbling with the ball rather than pressing we think he means.
“Christian and Hakim for their fresh legs and because they’re a bit more runners than for example Mason. We went for Romelu in the end up front. We thought about it [playing a false nine] to maybe create a bit of an overload but I think it can suit Romelu as well.”
It’s going well so far, and it’s great to finally have quality on the bench to cause damage later on after a long period playing with a threadbare squad.