When Thomas Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge, it was seen as a chance for a new, fresh start for many players. Players who had been ostracised under Frank Lampard, such as Marcos Alonso, were brought back into the fold quickly. So, too, was Andreas Christensen. The Dane had enjoyed time away from Chelsea, on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach, before returning to establish himself as a key player in the past. Playing under Antonio Conte in a back-three, the Dane became a crucial part of the back-line.
However, a knockout mistake against Barcelona soon saw him back to the bench and it left him short on belief. Gametime under Conte, Maurizio Sarri, and then Frank Lampard has been hard to come by. However, the German tactician has already put the Danish international back into the first-team – and it now appears that he has been a long-term fan of the player.
Given his return to the team alongside Antonio Rudiger, it would be fair to say that Chelsea have looked a more solid outfit since Tuchel came in. Could the return of some previously jettisoned defensive talents be a key part in this?
When did Thomas Tuchel first rate Andreas Christensen?
The association and interest in the player actually go back quite a few years. In the past, Tuchel was the Borussia Dortmund coach and had done a fine job at the club, winning the DFB Pokal. However, after the exit of some key players, Tuchel, like other BVB coaches, struggled to keep pace with the more-monied FC Bayern. One player, he seemed eager to sign, though, was Christensen.
After seeing him up-close for Gladbach, Tuchel had pleaded with the BVB hierarchy to make a move for the player and bring him into the first-team fold. However, the German outfit was unable to convince Chelsea to sell – post-Gladbach, he was seen as a key part of the long-term future at Cobham. And after several mistakes had ruined his confidence, he was no longer seen as a reliable target for the Germans.
This meant that Tuchel instead persevered with increasingly unsuitable defensive line-ups, often making it hard for Dortmund’s performance to match the expectations. Christensen, though, has repaid the faith that has been put in him by the Chelsea boss with consistent game performances and a huge upswing in his own personal performance.
Without a doubt, he has a bright future in the Chelsea first-team under Tuchel if he can stay fit. The German has shown in the past that he favours giving players time, and will let a player play through poor mistakes and ill form. For a player who has struggled so much to get into the Chelsea first-team, knowing he has a coach who allows for mistakes and personal growth is a crucial part of his next step forward.
Progress is everything in football, and in Tuchel it would be fair to say that Chelsea have a progressive coach. His open-minded approach to management, though, might just help Chelsea to recoup millions in potential transfer values from players who previously looked out of the picture entirely.