Rio Ferdinand praised the impact of Thomas Tuchel during his Chelsea reign and believes he has turned ‘animal’ Antonio Rudiger into one of the Premier League’s best.
Ferdinand believes former manager Frank Lampard will be watching the success of his successor and question why he was unable to get the best out of certain players during his reign.
Rudiger found himself out in the cold under Lampard but has been reinvigorated under Tuchel, becoming a rock at the heart of the Chelsea defence.
And Ferdinand, the former Manchester United centre-half, feels that only Manchester City’s Ruben Dias has been on a par with the Germany international in the Premier League during Tuchel’s spell at Stamford Bridge.
‘Frank’s respectful and I think he’s honest enough to know and would say Tuchel has done an amazing job,’ Ferdinand told FIVE.
‘But at the same time I’m sure Frank’s sitting there thinking, “well I didn’t see these certain players performing like this when I was there”.
‘But then it’s about Frank looking at himself, looking at his tenure there, did he approach things the right way. I’m sure he’s doing all this, he’s look at, “Could I have handled this situation better, could I have handled that player better?”.
‘That’s what Frank will be going through and he’ll be looking to make sure he rights the wrongs from his time at Chelsea.
‘But you can’t do nothing but respect and pay homage to what Tuchel has done.
‘Look at Rudiger, he’s arguably, since Tuchel has been there [at Chelsea], been the best defender in the Premier League. Him or [Ruben] Dias in that time. He’s been unbelievable, he’s like an animal.’
Rudiger is far from Tuchel’s only success story. Ferdinand has been impressed with how he’s taken Jorginho to the next level.
‘Tuchel is getting a different type of change out of some players,’ he added. ‘Jorginho has gone to a new level. Mount is doing exactly what he was doing under Frank.
‘Since Tuchel’s come, he’s [Jorginho] been a different player for me. The way he plays, he passes the ball forward now, so much more. And he plays a little bit higher at times, so his ball now is into the final third to hurt teams, so there’s a difference.
‘I was saying before, he’s not really affecting the game in terms of opening teams up or playing some break-the-lines passes as much as he’s doing now. He’s doing that far more often than what I’ve seen before and he’s impacting the game.
‘And he was being left isolated in previous teams. Whether it’s Sarri’s team or Frank’s team, I thought he was being left isolated at times. Kante wasn’t around him as much filling in the gaps, so when the game spreads and gets a bit open, teams under Frank and even Sarri at times was a bit more open when they have possession and even out of possession.
‘As soon as the game gets a bit open around Jorginho you may as well bring him off because he can’t move, he can’t run.
‘But in the team he’s playing now, much more compact. If you look at when they pinned Arsenal back when they had the ball, there weren’t big spaces between any player in the team, that helps him and I think he looks an unbelievably different player in that system.’