OF THE MANY insights into the character of Thomas Tuchel this week one is particularly significant.
Chelsea’s new head coach did not drink when he was a student.
Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge ended a draw Credit: AFP or Licensors
That puts him in a pretty exclusive club and may explain a fair bit of the personality soon to be imposed on his team.
People who don’t drink are generally those who do not like to lose control.
People who hate the thought of embarrassing themselves after one too many in the Union bar.
It is with that in mind that Tuchel opted for what he described as an ‘unfair’ line up for his first game in charge having taken over barely 24 hours earlier following the sacking of Frank Lampard.
Chelsea’s first half stats against Wolves
Tuchel says he went for experience; cool heads that wouldn’t let him down or show him up on his debut night as a Premier League coach.
Others at Stamford Bridge thought the first X1 under his command ‘weird’.
Bringing in old soldiers like captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Olivier Giroud and Antonio Rudiger was understandable.
Dropping Mason Mount, as revealed by SunSport online hours before kick off, was a bold move which led some to question whether Tuchel had in fact had a drop or two.
Mount until last night has been the undroppable player at the heart of Chelsea, the young man who Lampard placed his faith in until the very end on Sunday – even making him captain in what turned out to be his final game in charge.
And starting Kai Havertz, a 21-year-old kid with less than 30 games in English football to his name and who has struggled to get to grips with our game, was a contradiction.
There was a sense and it’s a logical one that with just one training session under his belt after flying into England and undergoing Covid testing and a swift introduction to his players – this was just a game to get through.
Chelsea could not lay on the ticker tape reception they created in 2016 for former boss Antonio Conte, who was greeted by all four sides of Stamford Bridge decked out in the colours of the Italian flag.
With no fans in the ground Tuchelk made the most muted entrance possible. Up the steps from the tunnel, turn left to the dugout, as if Chelsea changing managers happens every day. Oh hang on a minute…
Wearing a Chelsea bobble hat on a mild night to promote the brand, it was soon tossed aside despite the onset of heavy drizzle.
Even with a reputation as a volatile sort, a drab draw on a rainy January evening is little fuel for a fiery temper.
There were a couple of open hand gestures. One aimed towards the visitors’ dugout as the game got physically tasty, but no sign yet of the man who could pick a fight with The Pope.
In fact, the most animated Tuchel got was in the first half when Ben Chilwell wasted a chance to score.
The excited German jumped up and down, knees bent, clapping his hands wildly, like a gawky in-betweener after half a shandy trying to impress the girls on the dancefloor at a Young Conservatives Christmas Ball.