Thomas Tuchel and Frank Lampard are still trying to make their mark on Chelsea and Everton for the new season


Even though he praised his predecessor, Thomas Tuchel managed to give an outlook on his team. “He was one of the key figures who demonstrated in 90 minutes what Chelsea is about: intensity, dedication, winning mentality,” he said. He spoke about Frank Lampard, the midfielder, rather than the manager during the charm offensive at his unveiling.

Tuchel flattered Lampard and then outshined him. When the Englishman’s side were too permeable, the German would craft a formation on the plane from Paris and organize his new charges with such devastating efficiency that they conceded just two goals in his first 14 games at the top. Lampard left Chelsea in ninth place and Tuchel made them Champions League winners in just over four months.

Arguably Chelsea’s best player did some of the preparatory work, but Tuchel had the clear thinking and the coaching and tactical skills to make them European champions. Mason Mount was Lampard’s protégé, Reece James made a debut from him and his recent signings included Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell – if Kai Havertz and Timo Werner joined during his tenure it was harder to argue that he had much influence over theirs Recruitment had – but Tuchel made them a team.

It was hard to refute the idea that Tuchel was an instant upgrade from Lampard. But when they get back together on Saturday, the Everton manager has won their only duel 1-0 in May and each faces a similar challenge: can he shape his own side instead of pursuing pragmatic politics to get the best out of it? from the group he inherited? Because each of the 14 players Tuchel fielded at Goodison Park three months ago played for Lampard; Of the 14 the Englishman fielded, only Dele Alli, who was substituted at the last minute, joined his reign.

The sides were packed with players from their predecessors: that Romelu Lukaku was an unused substitute reflects the reality that Tuchel’s £98m purchase represents the biggest failure of his management at Stamford Bridge. Now something has changed at both clubs, albeit not as drastically as any manager would wish. Tuchel would like to have at least one other defender and one additional full-back, Lampard another striker and more options in midfield.

But recruitment has taken on a comparable importance. They have added experienced central defenders each in Kalidou Koulibaly and James Tarkowski and wingers in Raheem Sterling and Dwight McNeil. Each forward line has a significant absence, in the loaned Lukaku and sold Richarlison, Everton’s match-winner in May.

Everton sacked the Brazilian to even the books; Chelsea lost Antonio Rudiger for a very different financial reason. This isn’t quite the sanctioned derby – while Roman Abramovich has lost his control of Chelsea, Alisher Usmanov was officially just a sponsor at Everton, albeit one with very close ties to owner Farhad Moshiri – but they are clubs adapting to new realities to adjust.

Lampard has championed various vaguely progressive ideas – pressing, passing, youth – but they have rarely translated into a relegation battle won partly through a back-to-the-wall effort and partly through an exercise in collective willpower with her fans Helping to intimidate Chelsea into defeating on their last trip to Merseyside. Yet when he has his team – and without further additions and while Everton are still undermined by muddled thinking of the past, it probably isn’t yet – that comes with a responsibility to build something more enduring that reflects footballing principles.

Tuchel appeared as Lampard’s antithesis on his appointment and at times had the opposite problems in management in England. Lampard’s teams sometimes concede too many, Tuchel’s goals too little. Lukaku was the top scorer with 15 goals in all competitions last season; Lampard has topped that eight times in his Blues career, even from midfield.

If the focus is on Sterling to be productive, there are broader questions about Tuchel’s blueprint: Chelsea trailed their top two by 119 and 137 shots last season, with 40 and 38 fewer on target respectively and an expected goal tally of 22, 0 and 21.8 lower. This was not just a case of poor finishing, but a broader problem of creativity, coupled with individual underperformance – only Mount of their attacking players has really improved under Tuchel – compounded by injuries to influential full-backs.

There were indications that Tuchel would like to switch to a back four if the personnel situation allows it. His initial adoption of the 3-4-2-1 was a revelation, but at times it seemed like a straitjacket, dooming Chelsea to be more defensive than their peers. They had control, but at times lacked momentum.

(Getty Images)

Tuchel has reinvented Lampard’s Chelsea as the masters of football chess.

However, the paradox of Tuchel’s best team was that they weren’t his players at all. Perhaps after 18 months, a Champions League and a change of ownership, his team will emerge at Goodison Park on Saturday. Perhaps relieved of the immediacy of a salvage job, Lampard will offer signs of long-term direction for Everton.

But when Chelsea’s present and past collide, each may need to borrow a little from the other, with Tuchel needing the sense of adventure that Lampard first brought to Stamford Bridge as manager and the goals he invariably brought as a player and Lampard’s eye achieved his successor for the combination of defensive safety, possession of the ball, strategic thinking and the will to win. Thomas Tuchel and Frank Lampard are still trying to make their mark on Chelsea and Everton for the new season

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