Gary Neville admits surprise at what Tuchel did. It’s something he couldn’t achieve

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Manchester United legend Gary Neville has hailed Thomas Tuchel for how he quickly transformed the Chelsea team in such a short period of time.

Neville has been particularly pleased with Chelsea’s defending under Tuchel, as the Chelsea team has since adapted to his tactics and ended up keeping clean sheets after clean sheets.

Gary Neville talked about how the game has changed, with defenders being made to push high up the pitch, and then hailed the defensive organisation of Chelsea that has improved under Tuchel.

“We started to see this a few years ago, this transition of teams pushing up high,” he said to Sky Sports when discussing defences.

“It was almost like, at times, there were some of the older players in the team, I think it happened at Chelsea with John Terry and David Luiz.

“One of them wanted to go back, because that’s how we defend, it’s English football, we play in zones – and the other one wanted to run out.

“I even witnessed it in Spain, with Valencia, whereby I was trying to put a zonal system in play, where you shuffle across all together and some of the players wanted to jump out and I didn’t know how to coach it.

“I marvel at some of the defenders nowadays in terms of the pressure they put on themselves and the way they get up the pitch. I mentioned a few months ago at Manchester United, you look at Chelsea, Liverpool and City, this season, they’re pushing right up the pitch.

“I think Manchester United have done it better, they just drop a little bit too deep – that five yards I was talking about. These teams are absolutely brilliant.

“I don’t know how Tuchel coaches it, he’s been here four or five months, he has games every Wednesday and Saturday, there’s no time on the training pitch, you’re talking about recoveries most of the time. How has he coached that instantly into a team straight away?

“It’s an outstanding coaching performance and well done to the players for taking it on board as well. If you said to me that [Antonio] Rudiger, [Andreas] Christensen and [Cesar] Azpilicueta in a back three – and Thiago Silva, who’s a brilliant player but an ageing player – would have 11 clean sheets, I’d say not a chance.

“It’s got to be down to the manager and the coaching.”

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