1- Is Thomas Tuchel football’s new coaching superstar?
Not quite. Inspite of his victory, he’s not yet in the category of Pep Guardiola. However, by masterminding victory over Pep thrice, Diego Simeone twice, Zinedine Zidane, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, all of whom are former European champions; TT has proved he deserves a place at the table of champions.
2- Is it easier to win Premier League than Champions League?
The answer cannot be in black and white. Winning the EPL requires consistency over a longer period of time whereas CL triumphs are mostly a mixture of timing, luck and hard-nosed obstinacy. Good cup teams thrive in Europe. In other words, a clear long term plan backed by finances guarantees EPL success but doesn’t do the same in Europe.
3- Is Thomas Tuchel stealing Pep Guardiola’s notes?
He may well be. The Chelsea boss has been a keen student of the Guardiola module for 13 years and frequently exchanges notes with the Catalan. Both subscribe to possession based dominance. Ever been beaten in class by the chap you were helping out with his revision? You get the drift.
4- Has the EPL overtaken La Liga in Europe?
Villarreal’s victory over EPL runners up Manchester United in the Europa League final despite finishing seventh in La Liga is a pointer that Spanish clubs haven’t quite thrown in the towel. But the second all English Champions League final in three years suggests Premier League clubs are on an upward projectile.
5- Why is it so hard for a first time finalist to win Uefa Champions League?
Manchester City were the eighth first time finalist to lose in the final following into the footsteps of the likes of Monaco – 2004, Chelsea – 2008, Spurs – 2019 and PSG – 2020. This shows that nerves play a big part in the outcome. The word tournament pedigree comes to mind. First time finalists are usually their own worst enemies as they are nervous wrecks.
6- Do managers pace their teams for Champions League glory?
Yes they do. Rafa Benitez took a Liverpool side with Djimi Traore and Igor Biscan to two Champions League finals by pacing his players to succeed in Europe. Outgoing Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane’s runaway success in the competition was, in large part, due to his ability to ensure top stars like Cristiano Ronaldo were in peak form between March and May.
7 – Will Manchester City ever win the CL under Pep Guardiola?
Almost certainly. The two-time winner has been at pains to explain that City are ‘babies’ in Europe. They are yet to get a full grasp of the intricacies of Champions League success. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that City will overcome their tournament hoodoo sooner rather than later.
8- What is the preferred football system for Champions League success?
Strangely, it is the very system deployed by Manchester City with spectacular results in the Premier League. A team that can strike the correct balance between relentless pressing and defensive obduracy, as City did in winning the EPL at a canter, is on the money. Their failure to follow up domestic dominance with continental success is just part of a growth process.