April 23, 2021

Three things Thomas Tuchel got right and one he got wrong as Chelsea beat Porto

3 min read

Chelsea got their Champions League quarter-final off to the perfect start with a 2-0 victory over Porto in the first leg.

Mason Mount gave Thomas Tuchel’s side the lead on 32 minutes, lashing his shot past Marchesin following a sensational turn as he received a defence-splitting pass from Jorginho.

Before that, Chelsea had endured a nervy opening 25 minutes with Porto carving out chances and increasingly threatening Edouard Mendy’s goal.

Porto continued to look dangerous in the second half, but Chelsea kept them out before Ben Chilwell scored a superb goal late on to ensure his side take two potentially crucial away goals into next week’s second leg.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at what Tuchel got right and wrong for the first-leg clash against Porto.

Mason Mount celebrates after scoring for Chelsea against Porto
(Image: Chelsea Football Club)

Three things Tuchel got right

Mount crucial again

Mount has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers under both Tuchel and his predecessor Frank Lampard, and proved crucial again against Porto.

The 22-year-old was benched for the defeat to West Brom at the weekend following his impressive performances for England – but was eventually called on at Stamford Bridge as he scored a consolation goal.

While that defeat inflicted a blow to Chelsea’s top-four hopes, Tuchel’s decision to rest one of his star men paid off in Sevilla, with Mount sharp as he seized on Jorginho’s through-ball to break the deadlock and net the first of two away goals.

Rudiger restored

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger returned to the team after his training ground bust-up with Kepa Arrizabalaga
(Image: JOSE MANUEL VIDAL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Tuchel insisted ahead of the Porto clash that a training-ground bust-up between Antonio Rudiger and Kepa Arrizabalaga had been resolved, and the defender was given the nod in Seville.

The manager made five changes to his starting line-up from the weekend defeat to West Brom, which included Rudiger and Christensen returning to the back three alongside Cesar Azpilicueta, in place of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma.

The defence had been arguably Chelsea’s main strength under Tuchel, having kept seven successive clean sheets before the Baggies blasted five past them on Saturday.

Rudiger had plenty to do in Seville as a well-organised Porto side kept Chelsea’s defence busy, but he rewarded his manager’s faith in him with another shutout.

Not underestimating Porto

Ben Chilwell fired home a potentially second goal late on to put Chelsea in control of the tie
(Image: REUTERS)

After Porto knocked out Juventus in the shock result of the round of 16, Tuchel wasn’t about to underestimate the Portuguese champions.

He opted for a solid set-up with his favoured back three and Reece James preferred at right-wing back to Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Ben Chilwell and the opposite side, while Mateo Kovacic kept possession well in front of them.

It proved the right move with Porto causing plenty of problems throughout the game, with N’Golo Kante and Thiago coming on late on to help protect a hard-fought clean sheet, before Chilwell struck late on to give Chelsea what should prove a formidable advantage going into the second leg.

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One thing Tuchel got wrong

Havertz as a false nine

Kai Havertz started as a false nine for Chelsea against Porto
(Image: DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Playing Kai Havertz as a false nine was one of the five changes made by Tuchel from the West Brom game.

And while the tactic appeared to confuse Porto’s defence for a while, it also seemed to have the same effect on the Germany international, who had little impact in attack in the opening period.

Havertz also fired wide early in the second half when it seemed harder to miss – and while it wouldn’t have counted anyway due to an offside, it was typical of his fortunes in front of goal at the moment.

Shortly after that, Havertz and his compatriot Timo Werner were hauled off for Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic as the German pair’s struggles continue.

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