We don’t do managerial ratings here at Sky Sports – just ones for players – but if we did, Thomas Tuchel will have been close to a 10/10 for almost staging one of the greatest Champions League comebacks.
Chelsea had Real Madrid on the ropes, outplaying them for large parts and outthinking them for almost the majority. In their own back yard. That stemmed from Tuchel’s plan to play with bravery to hurt the La Liga leaders in the search for goals but to also keep Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema quiet at the other end after the pair had completely destroyed them at Stamford Bridge in the first half. It worked a charm.
Thomas Tuchel says he was disappointed in seeing the referee smiling and laughing with Carlo Ancelotti after the game and feels it was bad timing.
A great manager needs great players to carry out such instructions though.
And, Tuchel has plenty of those at his disposal.
His side played with amazing discipline but also mixed that in with a pulsating energy all across the pitch that didn’t allow Real Madrid’s key players time to lift their heads and work their magic. OK, maybe they allowed such occasions twice.
It was just unfortunate that Luca Modric, Vinicius Jr and Benzema carry such quality that they are gifted enough to take those half chances. Modric’s ball for Rodrygo’s crucial goal to level the tie can takes you to football heaven every time you watch it.
Reece James epitomised Chelsea’s tactically astute performance in the way he coped with Vinicius Jr.
There were other Chelsea heroes, too. Mason Mount ran until his legs couldn’t run no more and scored a fantastic goal, Ruben Loftus-Cheek adapted his game very skilfully to play in a diamond midfield and supported James when he needed to whilst Marcus Alonso provided his usual quality but backed it up with an error-free performance.