Sometimes as a football manager you work really hard in the summer to become better, feeling your team isn’t quite ready yet.
I am looking at Tuchel and think his team needs more strength, and he knows it too. But the key thing at the weekend in the match against Spurs, was how he handled the game in making sure he dictated the pace.
His side was in control but should have finished the game off earlier. Conte knew it would be a tough battle for his side and it has always been a challenge for Spurs. But he set his team up in a way that would make sure he would not lose the game. The response and the eagerness of Spurs to keep believing says a lot about how he has been working on the belief and mental part of the game with his players.
This is a Spurs side that will keep getting better and Conte knows that, and I know that for sure. Both managers started preparing for the game well before Sunday knowing what each other would bring tactically.
Tuchel showed a side of him that I didn’t know and hadn’t seen before. Sometimes people don’t know how important the manager’s character is to the team that he leads. If he is weak he will be losing not only the games but also the belief of his players in him. I had some in my career that were sometimes too weak and saw that they had to work on that. That is why you could see that both managers did not back down.
It happened before but at the end of the game Tuchel wanted to challenge Conte as he did not look at him when they shook hands. Conte did the handshake that was a bit weak by looking somewhere else, and Tuchel saw that and took the moment in holding his hand without backing off like we know Germans can, and not letting go.
I believe anyone that does that shows me a form of weakness. Shake or don’t shake, but don’t look away. This made us see the other side of the Italian by seeing the fire that we are used to seeing in Italians, but also the one Conte always had and said to Tuchel he can have it any time he wants. Meaning if you want this battle we can have it even if it is not on the pitch. This was how Conte was as a player and will always be. You want to bring it to him and he will always be in for it.
This was also how Conte planned his game by thinking if I can’t win I will go for a draw. Tuchel was thinking I will beat you no matter what and that was what resulted in a tussle at the end. Now it was a draw but the battle will continue and I look forward to the next one.
Derbies will be forever one of the best things to play in, as they were when I was in the UK. If you have played in them and understand the build up and aftermath to it you want more and more of it.