Chelsea’s performance against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 came as a surprise to almost everyone who watched the game. The Blues did more than just win the game, as they completely dominated the Spanish side.
A month ago, things didn’t look this promising for Chelsea. Having lost to Leicester City in Frank Lampard’s last league game in charge, everyone in the media tipped Atletico to have an easy ride against the Blues.
However, Thomas Tuchel’s arrival has changed things at Stamford Bridge. The former PSG manager has guided Chelsea to several impressive results, with the win against Diego Simeone’s side being the latest.
The Blues had the game under control from the first minute and were rewarded with an unreal overhead kick from Oliver Giroud, which ended up being the winner.
Winning mentality restored at Chelsea
Chelsea have now won six out of eight games since Tuchel’s arrival. This is a far cry from the fragile and disorganised side that they were under Lampard some weeks ago.
If there’s a notable difference between the Chelsea team supervised by Lampard and the one being managed by Tuchel, it is the fact that the current team has a winning mentality. This team is solid at the back, plays with attitude and never gives up.
Against Atletico, Chelsea dominated the proceedings and never allowed their heads to drop despite taking the lead.
“I’m super happy for the players and for my team. We have such a big reward for a top performance,” Tuchel said after the game, as quoted by Chelseafc.com.
“It was very important that we were absolutely concentrated for all 96 minutes, that we accepted also that it is very hard to create chances, but we did all that," Tuchel added.
Tuchel has been in charge for just a month but the improvement he has brought to the team can be seen by all.
If wins against Sheffield United, Barnsley and Newcastle United were not considered tough tests, then Chelsea’s victory over Atletico is enough proof that the German has restored a winning mentality at the club.
Chelsea still unbeaten under Tuchel
The win against Atletico extends Chelsea’s unbeaten run under Tuchel to eight games. The 47-year-old has barely put a foot wrong since being appointed by the London club.
Tuchel's favoured three-at-the-back system has ensured the team plays to the strengths of its individual parts. The likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger have been brought back from the cold and are experiencing a renaissance under the German manager.
Some weeks ago, this was an underperforming team with a host of players struggling to find their feet. Now, they have won six out of eight games while keeping six clean sheets in the process.
Tougher tests against Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton loom on the horizon, but Tuchel has proven his side is more than capable of holding their own against other teams.