Ex-Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland helped Chelsea win the Champions League in 2012 as an assistant to then Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo.
In an interview with Chelsea’s official website, Steve Holland revealed the secret weapon Chelsea used to win the Champions League in 2012.
“We played Blackburn the next day after that German Cup final which was our final league game of the season and Mr Abramovich kindly provided his private jet for me and Robbie to travel to the Borussia Dortmund-Bayern game. We finished training on the Saturday and got picked up from Cobham and went to the airport and it was more-or-less door to door to the stadium and we were back later that evening. So firstly it was an incredible trip from that perspective but secondly we established two things for the Champions League final,” Holland told Chelsea’s official website.
“We played 4-3-3 against Barcelona in the semis, with Juan Mata and Ramires wide with Didier up front on his own. The midfield was Raul Meireles, Frank Lampard and Mikel but for the final we had some suspensions. We watched what Dortmund did against Bayern and they won 5-2. They played 4-4-1-1 with Shinji Kagawa behind Robert Lewandowski and their two wide players were like soldiers. Defensively they were magnificent.
“That Bayern team had Philipp Lahm at right-back who was not just an attacking full-back but he was scoring goals, and they had Arjen Robben on the inside so on that side of the pitch it was a real problem defensively. We decided on Mata behind Drogba as our version of Kagawa behind Lewandowski, and behind them we would play with two banks of four and we would really try to tie down the defensive areas, and it was the first time we brought up the name of Ryan Bertrand as someone who could maybe do that job in front of Ashley Cole, because when Robben went inside and Lahm went outside, Cole and Bertrand would both be defensively capable and if they ended up in each other’s position then it would not be a disaster. So those two aspects were established on the back of that game we saw in Berlin.
“In the Blackburn game we were able to give Ryan a little feel of playing there and later that week we tried it in training. Ashley and Ryan were friends, they enjoyed it, you could see there was a spark, and it became quite clear early on that it would be the way. It was a massive call for a manager as this would be a Champions League debut out of position in a Champions League final, but it proved to be a good call and is one of the reasons I am choosing this German Cup final game.”