Tuchel demands more
The German rarely takes his seat in the dugout. Instead, he prowls his technical area ready to deliver instructions to one of his players, to urge for more from his side, or to passionately question the decision of the referee (more on that later).
What Tuchel rarely does, however, is engage with the fans inside the stadium. Perhaps that is because he is simply too focused on what is in front of him. Or maybe it’s because he feels it’s the players who need to be supported.
Yet on occasion, the Chelsea head coach will turn to the stands and demand the noise is increased. One notable instance of this was in the Champions League final in May in Porto. And today at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel repeated the trick.
After his side had equalised from the penalty spot via Jorginho, Chelsea attempted to mount future pressure. The crowd was up but Tuchel wanted more and after a corner was won, he turned to those in the East Stand and waved his arms frantically. The Blues supporters’ responded.
It didn’t lead to a winner, though. Chelsea pushed hard and had chances but Jadon Sancho’s goal was enough for United to return to Manchester with a share of the points.
A welcome return
There were a couple of familiar faces in the travelling Manchester United squad. Nemanja Matic – the winner of two Premier League titles during his time with the Blues – returned and started in a midfield three for the Reds.
Meanwhile, Juan Mata, twice Chelsea player of the year, was on the substitutes’ bench. The Spaniard remains a hugely popular figure at Stamford Bridge, with fans a players alike. That was evident before kick-off this afternoon.
As the two sets of players warmed up, Mata jogged to the halfway line where he was greeted by Cesar Azpilicueta. The two shared an embrace and the process was repeated with Saul Niguez and then Romelu Lukaku.
The quartet spends a good few minutes in conversation before again hugging and returning to their respective sides to continue their preparations.
Taylor angers Chelsea boss
When it was announced by the Premier League that Taylor would officiate the game, Chelsea supporters were not happy. Previous decisions given against the Blues in high-profile matches has not endeared fans to the referee.
Every call he made at Stamford Bridge was under extra scrutiny from the home faithful, and even from those on the touchline.
In the opening period, Tuchel twice lost his cool with a Taylor decision. The first occasion was when Victor Lindelof tumbled under minimal pressure from Timo Werner and the second was after Reece James was adjudged to have fouled Alex Telles.
Fortunately for Chelsea, the biggest decision in the game went in their favour. After falling behind to Sancho’s strike, Thiago Silva was felled in the penalty area by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Taylor awarded a penalty to the hosts, which was converted by Jorginho.
That wasn’t the last of it, though. As the game moved into added time, Cristiano Ronaldo scampered down the touchline and earned a corner despite obviously being in an offside position.
The linesman didn’t raise his flag and Tuchel went ballistic at the fourth official, holding his arms out wide to signal the Portuguese was clearly off, with replays proving the Chelsea head coach right.
However, for his protestations, Tuchel received a yellow card from Taylor, which he accepted before trying to cajole his side to victory.
Ronaldo’s ego stroked
There was a collective eyebrow raised when the teams were announced: Cristiano Ronaldo was only among the Manchester United substitutes. There were plenty disappointed at that, although probably very few of those were of a Chelsea persuasion.
Ronaldo would, obviously, come on. He spent much of the game preparing for that eventuality. And given he undertook his warm-up in front of the travelling United support, there were plenty of opportunities for the Portuguese to be serenaded.
The Reds supporters went through their Ronaldo songbook, but there was one chant, in particular, that the 36-year-old appeared to enjoy: “You’re only here to see Ronaldo.”
United’s star – perhaps unsurprisingly – instantly gave a round of applause to the fans.