Tuchel exudes positivity as he takes on big challenge at Chelsea

German coach not expecting to experience any particular difficulties with club hierarchy

 Thomas Tuchel:  “The structure that I find here is very clear and very easy. There are not many people who make the decisions and I can live with that.” Photograph:  Richard Heathcote/AFP

Thomas Tuchel: “The structure that I find here is very clear and very easy. There are not many people who make the decisions and I can live with that.” Photograph: Richard Heathcote/AFP

 

Thomas Tuchel has dismissed concerns about Chelsea’s history of sacking managers and said he has worked on improving his stubborn streak after falling out with hierarchies at his former clubs.

Tuchel was in an open mood as he was unveiled as Chelsea’s manager yesterday, revealing that he has received a supportive message from Frank Lampard, and he did not shy away from discussing his abrasive reputation.

The German left Borussia Dortmund under a cloud in 2017 and was fired by Paris Saint-Germain last month after falling out with the sporting director, Leonardo.

There have been suggestions that Tuchel could struggle with the politics at Chelsea, who appointed him on an 18-month deal after firing Lampard. Dortmund’s chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, has called the 47-year-old “a difficult guy”.

Yet Tuchel, who vowed to use Chelsea’s academy players, defended himself and insisted he was not worried about working for Roman Abramovich.

“It’s pure passion,” Tuchel said. “Also some principles. Your word is your word and I trust the word of a man. There’s always two sides to a story and I’m not here to blame anybody. I do also see this in myself. What I like now, why I am very positive, is that I am absolutely self-aware that this is a thing to improve and to be also more relaxed and maybe not to be too stubborn in my beliefs.

“The other thing is the structure that I find here is very clear and very easy. There are not many people who make the decisions and I can live with that. When things are clear, it is on me as the head coach to on one hand adapt and on the other hand make my opinion clear and give analysis of where I think we can improve. I hope this comes along in the right way.”

Tuchel had one training session before his first game, a 0-0 home draw with Wolves on Wednesday. Chelsea, who host Burnley on Sunday, lie eighth in the Premier League despite spending £220m last summer. Tuchel knows he must qualify for the Champions League this season and challenge for trophies as soon as possible.

“Maybe nobody expects me to be here long, maybe because of the history of coaches and Chelsea,” Tuchel said. “Maybe I stay long. If I don’t stay long, I don’t stay long. I cannot lose my focus right now.”

Special bond

Tuchel has not spoken to Abramovich. His discussions were with Marina Granovskaia, the influential director, and Petr Cech, the technical and performance adviser.

“This was first of all confidential and then very trustful,” Tuchel said. “Very honest and very clear. There was no moment of hesitation.”

Although Chelsea were drab against Wolves, Tuchel’s favoured style is attacking, aggressive football.

“I want to feel a certain level of energy,” he said. “I want to feel a special bond between the players. I want to be entertained.”

Tuchel’s first starting line-up was heavy on experience and contained one academy player, Callum Hudson-Odoi. Yet he made a point of praising Mason Mount, who was pivotal for Lampard, and indicated that Billy Gilmour might not leave on loan.

The tone was positive. Tuchel laughed when asked whether he is a football nerd or a cool guy.

“You want me to tell you how cool I am?” he said. “How uncool would that be? How nerdy would it be if I said now how cool I am! No, I am here as a manager. It is about football, football, football.

“I’m pretty normal. I like to spend time with my family. I learned that you need your time off. You cannot control everything. I am not the guy who thinks he can treat a player better than the physiotherapist, I am not the guy who thinks I can clean the boots better, or do the kit better than the kit guys or drive the bus better than the bus driver. I am the guy for the dressing room, for the tactics. I love to work in a nice environment where it is possible to smile and don’t confuse it with not being competitive.”

The only note of controversy came when Tuchel admitted to a childhood love of Tottenham, who host his side next Thursday.

“Now I’m absolutely aware I work for their big rivals,” he said. “You can be very, very sure we will do everything we can to beat them.”

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