Antonio Rudiger has explained how Thomas Tuchel has taken the heat off Chelsea’s defenders.
The Blues boss is unbeaten in 11 games since taking over at Chelsea and his side have kept clean sheets in his first five home games in a row.
It’s a far cry from the days when Chelsea were leaking goals like a sieve under Frank Lampard.
But Rudiger, who was rested for Monday night’s 2-0 win over Everton, claims there is no extra pressure being put on Chelsea’s defenders.
On the contrary, he believes their job is being made easier by the fact Tuchel insists on trying to play as much of his side’s football in the opposition half.
Rudiger said: “It gives us maybe a little bit less stress behind. If you keep the opponent in their own half, even if they counter-attack, they still have to go 70-80 metres to our goal.
“I think that makes sense, to keep them high up the pitch, in their own half, as much as you can.”
Rudiger believes Tuchel has hit on his blueprint for success from his background in the Bundesliga, where he followed Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.
Germany star Rudiger said: “When a team keeps you in your own half it’s very hard to go over the middle line.
“Liverpool did this so well in the last few years and this is because of Klopp. In Germany many teams play like this. Bayern Munich as well.
“What’s always been there is this counter-pressing. In those five seconds after you lose the ball, to try to win it back and then spaces open up and you are closer to the goal when you win it too.
“You don’t need to be going 70 metres to goal. You are already there.
“I think you can see the impact it had if you look at the results of the German national team – winning the World Cup in 2014.”
Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta reckons defending has become a real team effort at Chelsea and agrees that pressing high has transformed the way the Blues play.
He said: “I’m a part of the team that is working very hard. From the striker to the goalkeeper, everyone is doing their job and if you see the way we fight for the ball, the way the strikers press the ball and allow us as defenders to push the line high.
“I’m very happy with that because the effort, when you’re in the Premier League, you need it from everybody.
“We know how tough it is to replicate this every three days, so we’re in the right way, but as I said before we’re still far from where we want to be.
“We’re on the right path but we have to keep going and keep working because we haven’t done anything yet.”
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