BBC pundit Ian Wright believes Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel‘s surprise decision to select Reece James as a centre-back in the FA Cup final cost them in terms of creativity in the final third.
The Blues struggled to create many clear-cut chances as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Wembley and Wright thinks part of that was down to James starting in the backline:
“I think you have to say Reece James did a good job, but I think for me that was a bit of a mistake from Tuchel. I would’ve played Reece James on the right because I think they lost that thrust.”
Tuchel explained after the game that James’s move into the centre of defence was designed to combat the pace of Jamie Vardy. However, it was very noticeable that their attacking play suffered as a result.
James had run Benjamin Mendy ragged a week before as the Blues came from behind against Manchester City to secure a 2-1 win, but Tuchel didn’t even turn to the fullback to play further forward when Youri Tielemans opened the scoring for Leicester.
He instead replaced captain Cesar Azpilicueta with Callum Hudson-Odoi as Chelsea looked for an equaliser, but the attacking change didn’t bear fruit.