Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel praises Louis van Gaal for ‘having the BALLS to speak what he thinks’

Thomas Tuchel has revealed he admires Louis van Gaal for ‘having the balls to speak what he thinks’ after the Holland boss praised Chelsea’s style of play in a press conference outburst.

Earlier in the week, the former Manchester United boss raged at De Telegraaf journalist Valentijn Driessen, who claimed the 70-year-old enjoys defensive football ‘like Chelsea and Liverpool’ play. 

German boss Tuchel brought in a 3-4-2-1 or 3-5-2 formation at Stamford Bridge when he arrived at the club in January of this year, but van Gaal fired back at the journalist, stating the Blues show ‘you can attack incredibly well’ with that formation.  

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Thomas Tuchel admits he admires Louis van Gaal for ‘having the balls to speak what he thinks’

Holland boss Van Gaal raged at claims earlier this week that he enjoys defensive football

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Van Gaal also praised Tuchel for understanding how such a formation can deliver exciting football, and the former Paris Saint-Germain boss has now returned the favour, claiming it is ‘nice’ to hear the Dutchman talk about football ‘with brutal honesty’.

‘Somebody sent that to me. It was a pleasure to play against him as a very young coach in Germany when he was coach for Bayern Munich and he has this kind of brutal honesty when you talk to him or when he goes to the press conference, which is what I really love,’ Tuchel told Sky Sports.

‘He has the balls to speak it out, what he thinks. Sometimes it’s not to his advantage, but I think right now, it’s nice to hear him talk about football. 

‘He has a certain age. He has a huge experience. He has influenced football in general with all his clubs, all his teams, on such a high level.

Tuchel (right), pictured as Mainz boss, with Van Gaal (left) in charge of Bayern Munich in 2010

De Telegraaf journalist Valentijn Driessen (right) claimed Van Gaal likes defensive football ‘like Chelsea and Liverpool ‘ play – something which did not sit well with the Holland manager

‘Not just because he defended me in person, which was nice, of course, but in general, he is not afraid to speak out. 

‘Sometimes I or other colleagues maybe think ”let’s not speak out” because we’d just create trouble and we want to protect a calm atmosphere… But he’s a nice guy, I like him.’

Tuchel – whose side face Aston Villa on Saturday – helped the Blues go from ninth in the Premier League to Champions League winners, while he also earned the west Londoners a top-four spot on the final day of last season.

And the 48-year-old insisted he agreed with Van Gaal that his side have not prioritised defensive football at the expense of attacking play, stating that their focus remains on maintaining an ‘active’ style. 

‘Well, what is defensive and what is offensive? I think you can debate for hours and for weeks and in the end for years,’ Tuchel added.

Van Gaal fired back at the journalist, stating the Blues show ‘you can attack incredibly well’

‘For me it’s more to stay active. If a game is active, it’s attractive. If you take the Champions League final, we had not a lot of possession and of course we had to defend because of the quality of Man City, but we never were passive. We never just parked the bus in front of the goal.

‘One of the best transition teams was Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund and with Liverpool in the last years. Sometimes they don’t have much ball possession, but then you see these fast attacks – and they have these fast attacks because they defended deep before.

‘So it’s all connected and what I heard from Van Gaal, I was clearly on his side! It’s important that it’s attractive, that it’s active and it’s intensive and you can show these attributes in all parts of the game, in the moments where you defend, and also when you attack.’

Van Gaal’s outburst started when Driessen accused the 70-year-old – who has played with a back four in all three of his games as Holland boss – of wanting to see more defensive-minded football in the game.

Tuchel helped the Blues go from ninth in the Premier League to Champions League winners

‘Look at the (others) results,’ Van Gaal told his press conference ahead of their 6-1 drubbing of Turkey in midweek. ‘Look at Italy, (they are) European champions, (they) have now drawn twice.

‘It’s not all that easy. Defensive football has made its appearance and there is applause for that afterwards.’

Journalist Driessen responded: ‘But the one applauding is you. You also want to play like Chelsea and Liverpool.’ 

‘Is that defensive football, in your eyes?’ Van Gaal replied. 

‘It’s what Chelsea do,’ said Driessen. 

‘Not at all, Valentijn!’ bellowed Van Gaal. ‘You have no idea at all. I’m sorry to say it, but you’re just a journalist. You want to implement your vision, but you have no vision in football. You have a vision for the newspaper, fantastic. You attract attention, and so on. 

Driessen criticised Chelsea’s tactics in their Champions League final victory over Man City

‘But with 5-3-2 or 5-2-3 you can attack incredibly well. Chelsea shows it every time, with different formations. And I take my hat off to Mr (Thomas) Tuchel, because he got in halfway through (last season).’ 

Driessen criticised Chelsea’s tactics in their Champions League final victory over City in May before accusing Van Gaal of enjoying that style of play, with the 70-year-old agreeing with him.

‘So (in the) Manchester City (versus) Chelsea (match), did you enjoy Chelsea more than Manchester City?’ Driessen then asked Van Gaal. 

‘Yes of course!’ said Van Gaal. ‘You should read my book, because you probably won’t.’ 

‘But your first vision in your first book is at odds with your current vision,’ said Driessen. 

Van Gaal then responded: ‘Have you ever heard of evolution? I’m developing too and Memphis (Depay – sitting next to him at the press conference) is developing too. And me at the age of 70.’ 

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