The Debrief: How Real Madrid’s nemesis Tuchel got us playing on the front foot and winning the midfield battle

The contrasting nature of the defending both teams were required to do clearly showed where the difference was. Both teams were attempting to win the ball high up the pitch and prevent their opponents playing with a high press, but Chelsea were the only ones to pull it off, as shown by our massive 45 ball recoveries.

Real Madrid, however, repeatedly found their press broken or bypassed and had to fall back to more traditional methods of defending deep into their own half, resulting in their defenders making 21 tackles and 20 clearances. Our own back line stayed in single figures for both, needing to make just six tackles nine clearances. Eder Militao’s seven tackles and Raphael Varane’s seven clearances were both more than double those of any Chelsea player.

Controlling the middle

Given our position in the driving seat for much of the game, it is perhaps surprising to see that Real Madrid actually edged the possession statistics, with the Blues having 48 per cent of the ball, as well as playing slightly fewer passes (579) than Real Madrid (598), despite those being statistics we usually dominate. However, it was a controlled performance from Tuchel’s side which owed more to quality than quantity.


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