Dutch managerial duo Ronald Koeman and Louis Van Gaal have agreed that Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are the ‘benchmark’ for how to play the three at the back system in the right way, amid criticism of the Blues’ style being too defensive.
The German has largely adopted 3-4-3 formation since he joined the west London club, culminating in winning the European Champions League less than six months in the saddle as manager.
There have been comments that Chelsea are a defensive team when they opt for the tried and tested three at the back formation.
Koeman explained: “The best Barca last year was in 3-5-2. We managed to maximize Busquets, we had few attackers available.
“Chelsea are the benchmark, they play in 3-5-2 and are not defensive. We must also see in relation to the workforce available.”
Glowing praise from such a reputable manager, who takes inspiration from seeing what Tuchel has done so far in SW6, can only be seen in a positive way.
Koeman’s praise comes after veteran manager Van Gaal has also had to defend the Blues.
“You have no idea at all. I’m sorry to say it, but you’re just a journalist. You want to implement your vision, but you have no vision in football. You have a vision for the newspaper, fantastic. You attract attention, and so on. But with 5-3-2 or 5-2-3 you can attack incredibly well.”
This was former Manchester United boss Van Gaal berating Dutch journalist Valentijn Driessen in his pre-match press conference before the Netherlands World Cup qualifier against Turkey on Tuesday evening.
“It’s what Chelsea do,” journalist Driessen said in response to Van Gaal’s question as to whether the Blues methods were defensive. Van Gaal disagreed. “Not at all, Valentijn.”
“Chelsea show it every time, with different formations. And I take my hat off to Mr Tuchel, because he got in halfway through [last season].”