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Special magic Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel ooze has taken them to the summit

Chelsea boss has managed a remarkable turnaround in short period

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and the bench react after victory over Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge. Photo: Reuters

Richard Dunne

When Sven-Goran Eriksson walked into our dressing room at Manchester City in 2007, he made things very simple.

He just said, I want people to respect me, to respect themselves and everyone else at the club. His philosophy was that good players should more or less be able to manage themselves and then he worked on people individually.

His training was always enjoyable. As a player, you believe in someone like that, someone who is a winner, who has won trophies but wants to be successful again. You want to learn from them.

What Chelsea and Manchester City both have now is that situation: two great managers who have won trophies but who want to win more, and everyone around them buys into their message.

We all know the influence that Pep Guardiola has had at Manchester City, but in a short space of time it’s evident the difference that Thomas Tuchel has made at Chelsea. And he is the main reason they are in the Champions League final, because I don’t think anyone realistically saw the Frank Lampard side at that club getting that far.

Lampard had assembled a really good squad and under him the team may have been more exciting than it is now, even though this current side is good on the break, however, Chelsea didn’t have consistency under the Englishman. And that all comes down to the details that the manager imposes on the squad.

Tuchel did well in Germany and he was known for being tactically strong. Now he has come to England and has a group of players who listen to him and who follow his instructions, who know the details that he demands. Once you get results the players will easily follow and they look like a very strong team now. They have a good chance of winning the Champions League this month, but they also look like a team who really can challenge for the Premier League next season.

From his appearances in the media, Tuchel looks like a pleasant guy who is positive in his approach, but he’s also very certain of what he expects. And as a player, when your manager explains to you why he wants you to do something, as opposed to just telling you what to do, it helps.

Then, when you see it works in the matches, you really buy into it and start to believe. And that’s why Chelsea have made themselves very hard to play against.

Chelsea bought some brilliant attacking talent last summer but to get the best out of them, they needed to be sure the defence was working well and they have really shut up shop since Tuchel has come into the club. With the defence clicking, they have a base to work from.

Yes, they have great players going forward but those players need to work with the defenders. And to do well, the manager needs to get more out of the front players, instead of them just being forwards who score the goals.

Strikers often see themselves as individuals, but they need to work as a team or nothing will come right, and Tuchel has done that.

Managers bring different things to their teams. When I had Martin O’Neill as manager at Aston Villa, I knew I had a manager who was successful but the way he led the team was very much based on his motivational skills and you can buy into it because of that.

I had similar with Kevin Keegan at Man City. He was very strong on the motivational side and didn’t have the finer details that other managers had.

With Giovanni Trapattoni in the Irish team, he was very into the minute details, how you mark from a throw-in, how you defend from a corner. And a lot of the detail, for any manager, comes in the defensive work.

What Tuchel and Guardiola have shown is that they can coach that defensive side but also work on the finer details with the attacking players. Both Chelsea and City have tightened up defensively this season, yet the players know exactly what to do when they break.

They know exactly where they are supposed to be on the field. Players know their jobs and that’s what makes the team successful.

Not every manager gets it right. If you have a squad of players used to a 4-4-2, why then play a 3-4-3, make those players fit into a system that won’t work for them? Some managers come in and change everything overnight and that’s difficult to do.

Not all managers work out well, as we know. The manager has to have confidence in himself but he also needs a buy-in from the players. His message has to be right or the players won’t listen – good players will know when their manager is just speaking off the cuff.

You need authority but not in the old-school sense. You have to explain to the players exactly what you’re doing, show them in training how it works.

A manager needs to give players a reason to follow him and with a lot of managers, they let their ego get in the way, as happened at Tottenham.

The players tried to fall into Jose Mourinho’s way but they didn’t have the players to play in his system, and it didn’t work. You can lose the dressing room very quickly unless the manager is open with the players – and also able to use the players he has available to him.

That’s what Guardiola and Tuchel have and that’s why they are the last two standing in the Champions League.

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