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Thomas Tuchel responds to Louis van Gaal’s Chelsea praise


Louis van Gaal praised Thomas Tuchel for the job he has done at Chelsea since succeeding Frank Lampard (Picture: Getty)

Thomas Tuchel revealed he was delighted after he was sent footage of Louis van Gaal showering him with praise as he attempted to defend the style of football he was hoping to implement with the Dutch national team.

The veteran coach recently came out of retirement, inheriting a Netherlands squad which disappointed at this summer’s European championships, but was faced with stinging criticism of his methods earlier this week during a heated press conference.

Dutch journalist Valentijn Driessen suggested that the former Manchester United manager would attempt to get his side playing ‘defensive’ football like Chelsea.

Louis van Gaal has come out of retirement to manage the Dutch national team (Picture: Getty)

Tuchel has enjoyed stellar success since succeeding Frank Lampard, but his style of football has not always pleased the purists. The ends, however, have justified the means with a Champions League trophy tangible proof that his methods are capable of yielding success in the modern game.

Reacting to Van Gaal’s praise, Tuchel told Sky Sports: ‘Somebody sent that to me. It was a pleasure to play against him as a very young coach in Germany when he was coach from Bayern Munich and he has this kind of brutal honesty when you talk to him or when he goes to the press conference, which is what I really love.

‘He has really the balls to speak it out, what he thinks. Sometimes it’s not to his advantage, but I think right now, it’s nice to hear him talk about football.

‘He has a certain age. He has a huge experience. He has influenced football in general with all his clubs, all his teams on such a high level.

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‘Not just because he defended me in person, which was nice, of course, but in general, he is not afraid to speak out.

‘Sometimes I or other colleagues maybe think ‘let’s don’t speak it out’ because we’d just create trouble and we want to protect a calm atmosphere… But he’s a nice guy, I like him.’

Justifying his own tactical set-up, which normally relies on a 3-4-3 formation, Tuchel added: ‘Well, what is defensive and what is offensive? I think you can debate for hours and for weeks and in the end for years.

‘For me it’s more to stay active. If you take the Champions League final, we had not a lot of possession and of course we had to defend because of the quality of Man City but we never were passive. We never just parked the bus in front of the goal.

‘If a game is active, it’s attractive. So you need to have answers to all the questions and you have to respect the strengths and strategy of your opponent.

‘Sometimes we have a lot of ball possession but it doesn’t feel like a really offensive game. I had some games in Paris with PSG with ridiculous amount of ball possession, but we could not pace it up, we could not accelerate in this special game. So it felt like we controlled it, but it didn’t feel like attacking football.

‘So what is attacking football? One of the best transition teams was Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund and with Liverpool in the last years. Sometimes they don’t have much ball possession, but then you see these fast attacks… and they have these fast attacks because they defended deep before.

‘So it’s all connected and what I heard from Van Gaal, I was clearly on his side! It’s important that it’s attractive, that it’s active and it’s intensive and you can show these attributes in all parts of the game, in the moment where you defend, and also when you attack.’


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