Ballack explains how Tuchel has improved Chelsea from Lampard days

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has praised Blues boss Thomas Tuchel for the improvements he has made since taking over from Frank Lampard back in January.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's Champions League semi-final second leg clash with Real Madrid, Ballack explained that this former side "look very comfortable and strong" under Tuchel.

Chelsea went on to beat Madrid 2-0 in the second-leg, winning 3-1 on aggregate to set up a showdown with Manchester City in the final later this month.

"Everything looked a bit different at the start of the season and now Chelsea are in a great position to reach their first Champions League final since 2012," Ballack told BBC Radio 5 Live Drive.

"Chelsea look very comfortable and strong, especially at the back, with 17 clean sheets overall since Thomas Tuchel arrived. It's always difficult if you re-join a club after being such a legend as Frank Lampard was as a player.

"Thomas is a smart guy and showed that when he went to Paris St-Germain. At Chelsea he has brought the team spirit together.

"There are still some improvements to be made but if you want to win titles you need to stabilise the defence and that's what he has done."

Speaking after Chelsea's win over Madrid, Tuchel said: "I'm very, very happy that we achieved this. I'm in general very grateful that I have the opportunity to live my life in football and fill this passion as a professional.

"I'm more than grateful to do it on this level and to coach a team like this and to arrive now for the second time in a final, I'm very grateful. Very thankful.

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  • "We deserved to win. First half was difficult because they had a lot of ball possession, made us suffer. But we were dangerous with counter-attacks and never lost the hunger or desire to defend.

    "Second half was an even better structure to defend. It was a fantastic performance. Second half, we could have scored so much earlier and so much more to be safe. But no time for criticism now. It's a fantastic achievement. A big congratulations to the team."

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