What Thomas Tuchel did to angry Ross Barkley, his warning to Saul Niguez and Hakim Ziyech
Chelsea’s Ross Barkley started his first Premier League match of the season against Burnley.
Few would have predicted that Ross Barkley would stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the transfer deadline when the season started.
Fewer would have predicted he’d start a Premier League match against Burnley after making vital contributions like the one he made in the build-up to Timo Werner’s crucial goal against Southampton.
Despite the fact that Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, and Mason Mount had to start on the bench at Stamford Bridge, Barkley came on the field and was given a role that was well suited to his abilities.
Tuchel altered Chelsea’s formation against the Clarets, moving Barkley to the 10th position behind wider attackers Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The old Toffee lived up to it in many respects. Barkley made as many vital passes as Reece James and Hudson-Odoi, as well as more shots and dribbles, and only James made more accurate crosses than his colleagues. All of this despite just being on the field for 72 minutes.
It was far from a flawless performance, with the 27-year-final old’s product missing the lustre of someone who has played more consistently during the season, as seen by a bad shot just seconds before he was replaced.
“”He waited a long time and he had a tremendous effect in our matches when he came on [from the bench],” Tuchel added. “It was the right place for Ross to start tonight.” He was an excellent fit for her. He had the match points on his left foot, and he seems to be even stronger on his left foot in this position in training.
“Of course, we had a great opportunity before that with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Thiago Silva. If we score a second goal, I believe we will score a third and fourth, with no chance of a comeback.
“He’s unhappy with himself since he generated opportunities and we had chances in the first and second halves, so no one blames him.”
While Barkley was upset with his performance, Tuchel and the audience showered him with praise as he departed the field, receiving a pat on the back from his German coach.
Of course, the outcome was not what Chelsea’s £15 million signing had hoped for, but he did prove that he can still contribute in a hectic season. Tuchel will be even more pleased by his dissatisfaction with his performance.
Are there any possibilities in the future?
Tuchel said, “First and foremost, it is dependent on oneself, and it is continuing.” I’m glad if he remains optimistic and hardworking, but I’m not happy if he isn’t really happy. If he is dissatisfied with what he has, I am delighted.
“At the same time, he must recognize where he is today, as well as his hard work and effort, and he was really serious from the first day of preseason, but his position is quite competitive.
“If you play for Chelsea, you must be prepared; if you believe you are prepared and confident, you will be given the opportunity to play.
“Unfortunately, we only have three subs, so it’s not always simple, but you always have an opportunity to impress with your performance.”
That is a lesson that the whole Chelsea team should take to heart. Hakim Ziyech and Saul Niguez were left off the starting lineup, despite the former scoring the game-winning goal against Malmo earlier in the week.
Several players, especially when Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku return, will find themselves in the similar situation during the season.
In the Champions League, Ziyech was poised to make the game-changing difference. Barkley shown that he could provide something unique and that he could carry out a tactical strategy, though not the decision-making necessary to raise his performance.
Even with rotation, opportunities to get into Tuchel’s starting XI are few and far between, with minimal tolerances for mistake, as Chelsea’s draw with Burnley demonstrated.
Regardless of the future, every member of Chelsea’s team must be prepared for the next season.