Willy Caballero believes working under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, even for just six months, made him a better player.
However, the German coach’s presence at the west London club, which saw him win the Champions League in his first few months in charge at Stamford Bridge, was enough to convince the former Chelsea shot-stopper how great of a manager he was.
football.london caught up with the 39-year-old, who is currently a free agent after leaving the Blues over the summer upon the expiry of his contract, ahead of Saturday’s clash between two of his former clubs: Chelsea and Manchester City.
Caballero has played under both Tuchel and Pep Guardiola and when asked who the best manager he has played under is, he replied: “It is so difficult for me to choose just one. I played under Marcelo Bielsa for the national team and Pep Guardiola learned a lot from Marcelo Bielsa.
“Thomas, last season, showed me last season that he was great as well. I didn’t play for him; I was the third goalkeeper.
“But I have been lucky in my career that I could play for huge managers that I could learn from. It is so difficult to say just one.”
When asked about Tuchel specifically and what he is like behind the scenes, the former Blues man said: “He is a fantastic coach, has very good staff and the things that he explains are very clever and close to the players.
“The people that work with him are also very good and keep the great atmosphere inside the team.
“He also teaches very well, the way that he wants to play, how he wants to break the other team and the training and games last season were very good for every player.
“Even in just six months, every player learnt a little bit to become a better player.
“I believe it is because he is a coach that is very, very, very demanding.
“He is demanding at both ends of the pitch in both boxes. He started so well last season, even in the first games, that when he planned the games he just wanted to attack with five players and defend with five players at the beginning of his run as Chelsea manager.
“From that, all the players adapted with their movements on the pitch and that has worked well.
“But, as I said to a friend, every line of the Chelsea players this season has started very well, from both goalkeepers, and I say both because they are both giving points to the team, and the defenders, midfielders and also the set-pieces are also giving points to Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
“All the things are working well.”
Caballero was also asked about Chelsea’s goalkeeping situation at the moment, with Kepa impressing over the past two games.
The Spanish goalkeeper, who has been widely criticised for his performances in a Blues shirt since joining for £71million in 2018, has started the past two matches with Mendy out because of a hip injury.
Tuchel’s first-choice, Mendy, though, is set to return against Man City on Saturday afternoon, with the Chelsea boss saying the Senegal international will return to the starting line-up.
“Well, I believe both goalkeepers are fantastic and last season they had great competition,” Caballero told football.london. “They are competing right now and are showing that everyone can play.
“Edouard is fantastic and last season he showed that he is one of the best because he is making difficult saves that probably a lot of goalkeepers would find it hard to make.
“Kepa is showing that he can work in the shadows and be ready for everything.
“Last season was so difficult for him. Last season he was training as a machine. I believe that he has shown Thomas that working like that he can play as a No.1.”
On Kepa, Caballero added: “I believe this is the point for him and for every second goalkeeper; to try to to be in the team and have a lot of targets during the season.
“He will want to try and convince himself, the boss and also the players, the defenders that will be playing with him in every competition.
“I believe this is the dream for any goalkeeper when you have the chance to convince, and it is difficult to do it. We have to give value to Kepa and his preparation.”
Of course, with Caballero representing both Chelsea and Man City in the past, he was asked about his prediction for the clash later today.
The Blues welcome City to Stamford Bridge, as Tuchel looks to extend his side’s advantage at the top of the Premier League table.
City, who won the league last season, have not enjoyed the best start to the season, with 10 points from their opening five games of the campaign.
And Caballero believes Chelsea will have too much for City on the afternoon. He said: “City will have to defend. They have to be together like they did against Tottenham and in other games.
“As I said in the beginning, it is granted to be a show with these kinds of players and managers.
“For the supporters and people watching at home, it is granted to be a show, 100 per cent. Hopefully we can see a good match with a lot of good actions, goals and everything. I think Chelsea will win 2-1.”