Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admits he made the risky tactical decision to move Reece James from his usual wing-back role into central defence against Leicester City in order to deal with the threat of Jamie Vardy.
James didn’t look entirely comfortable in the back three, and Chelsea also missed his attacking prowess going forward, with Cesar Azpilicueta not really offering enough in that role.
Still, Tuchel defended the decision after the game as he praised the performance of James, insisting he had good reason to make the change as it was a response to studying Vardy’s game.
“Reece played in the back three and we put Azpi up higher,” Tuchel said after the game, as quoted by the Metro.
“They changed the position because we knew about the favourite position of Jamie Vardy in counter-attacks and the transition game.
“We wanted Reece’s power and acceleration and top speed against him to eliminate this threat. He did fantastic today. I’m very, very happy.
“On the same side we wanted to have Azpi a bit higher because he takes from his experience and character a bit more risk than Reece in the last line.
“If Azpi had scored the first goal and it was not deflected beforehand it would’ve been a great decision.
“So now it’s a normal decision, it was a decision for tactical reasons, for Reece’s top speed and I’m very happy with how we defended in general today.”
Vardy is undoubtedly a big threat with his pace and movement for Leicester, but it seems Tuchel over-thought this one a bit and showed a worrying error in judgement for the biggest game of his Chelsea career so far.
The German tactician will have to make sure he doesn’t make the same mistake when his side take on Manchester City in the Champions League final.
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