Former Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle says new head coach Thomas Tuchel’s three-at-the-back system is an ideal fit for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso.
Both excelled playing as wing-backs in a dominant 2-0 win over Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with winger Hudson-Odoi teeing up the first goal for Cesar Azpilicueta and Alonso, who had not started a game since September, crashing home a classy second goal late on.
And Hoddle, who managed Chelsea from June 1993 to May 1996 and played a sweeper when he took over at Chelsea at a time when almost every other side in the top flight played a rigid 4-4-2 system, was impressed with what he saw.
“Chelsea had good movement and the diagonal ball out to Hudson-Odoi- or Reece James when he came on – was on all day long and Burnley couldn’t cope with the shape,” said Hoddle, who was working as a pundit for BT Sport.
“The wing-back role and the system suits him because he likes to be wide and he likes to stay wide and hog the line. The Chelsea midfield players were finding him much easier on the diagonals today than they were against Wolves.”
Hoddle praised Hudson-Odoi’s intelligence and movement with and without the ball and the England international’s aggressive nature when running at defenders.
“All the positive play down the right-hand side came from Hudson-Odoi,” Hoddle added. “He has to be delighted with his performance – and his manager certainly will be.”
Hoddle also had high praise for Alonso, who stood out playing as the other wing-back.
“In a back four he is a little bit vulnerable and he doesn’t get on the cover so easily,” Hoddle said. “In a wing-back position there is a time when he has to be on the cover – but mainly with Chelsea and the system they have got – he is on the front foot. He is a playing like a winger.
“He was very enthused with his game. He wasn’t playing under Frank Lampard but has come in with the right attitude.
“He looked a very happy bunny. A goal like that brought a smile to his face after all those months out of the team.”