Thomas Tuchel’s team meeting on Sunday morning following the furore created by the substitution of Callum Hudson-Odoi after just 31 minutes made quite an impression on first-team players.
Manager and players are still working each other out just over a month into his reign but, on balance, most players seem appreciative of his directness in addressing the situation and dealing with it in front of the squad.
Tuchel has said he felt it needed to be done as a group, because Hudson-Odoi had been publicly criticised by the manager.
Thomas Tuchel explained to squad why Callum Hudson-Odoi was taken off at Southampton
Tuchel admitted that it was a ‘bit harsh’ to withdraw the winger after 31 minutes on the pitch
Certainly Hudson-Odoi is said to have been grateful that the manager had sorted the situation and that it put his mind at rest.
The winger also learned that he was likely to be starting against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday and that would have eased his mind even more than any words.
It was clear that Tuchel was being straightforward when he said it wasn’t a major issue in his mind and it wouldn’t cause repercussions.
In acknowledging that he was maybe a ‘bit harsh’ on Hudson-Odoi, Tuchel will have hoped to have secured a double win with his players.
On one hand, it gave him the opportunity to explain again exactly what he wants to see when a player is pressing and laid down his authority. On the other, he has built bridges and earned respect in fronting up and explaining his reasoning and words.
As Tuchel reported last week, Hudson-Odoi was bright and cheery in training on Sunday and Monday, the bitter disappointment of Saturday’s substitution seemingly forgotten.
Tuchel has retained the player’s trust while still having the opportunity to make a point about what he requires. He will get full buy-in from Hudson-Odoi. The player has been excited by the opportunities given to him by the new manager, having played in every game and started all but two — having been a less consistent starter under Frank Lampard.
Hudson-Odoi responded by producing an impressive performance against Atletico Madrid