Thomas Tuchel hits all the right notes at assured first press conference in Chelsea hot seat

If there remains debate among supporters about the direction of Chelsea, and the discarding of Frank Lampard, there can be no debate about Thomas Tuchel’s mission statement. This is exactly what every fan would want to hear – and see.

“I like attacking football,” Tuchel proclaimed in his presentation press conference. “I like the approach of thinking about scoring and creating chances and this is what we transmit to the players, to think up front, to think offensive and give them guidance where they can accelerate a game and get into the opponent’s box… If I am a Chelsea fan, I want to be excited when I go to the stadium, when I switch on the TV. I want to feel a certain level of energy, to feel a special bond with the players. I want to be entertained. I want to be excited.”

Tuchel is certainly an excitable character, and there is an energy from him. He talks about football with passion, and gets you motivated.

One of the main criticisms from his career so far is that he often seems to have too much passion, given that it has spilled over into long-running arguments with both players and hierarchies. Tuchel directly addressed this in an impressive opening meeting with the media in England, where he was charismatic, funny, humble but assertive and, above all, persuasive.

The engaging way he spoke rarely chimed with the widespread image of the 47-year-old as “a nerd”. This was something else he spoke about, in humorous manner, when asked whether he is “cool”?

“You want me to tell you how cool I am? How uncool would that be?! How nerdy would it be if I said now how cool I am?!”

Tuchel instead said all the right things about the main issues, from the man he replaced, to the players he is now in charge of.

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One of the most interesting things at Chelsea right now is the “culture war” that Tuchel has stepped into, and that he could face a backlash from, given he has replaced the club’s greatest legend. He addressed that well, too.

“I don’t know, I hope not because that would be hard on the team. We need our supporters like any team. I can absolutely assume it’s a big, big disappointment for the fan base to see that Frank was sacked. I can only repeat I have the biggest respect, I was a huge fan of Frank as a player, it was a huge joy to watch him play and to see how he played. He was one of the key figures to demonstrate in 90 minutes what Chelsea was about, intensity, devotion, winning mentality. And so I have the biggest respect for him personally and for his legacy. It just got bigger when I received a personal message today to wish me all the best and maybe to meet in the future when this is possible.

“But in the last 72 hours the club made clear to me this is clearly not my fault and I cannot change the situation for him. The decision was made and I was handed the opportunity, but I totally mean what I say about Frank.”

As regards the other primary questions about doing the job, Tuchel pointed to his fine record with young players – sources at Borussia Dortmund say they tend to better disposed to him than senior players – while speaking enthusiastically about Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour and explained exactly where he’ll be using N’Golo Kante (as a “double six”).

The biggest about the job, however, remains how he will get on with the Stamford Bridge hierarchy – and how long he’ll last.

While the relative impatience of the Chelsea decision-makers has naturally had a lot of renewed attention, so has Tuchel’s urgency, so to speak. Stories abound of his own self-driven fallouts with his bosses – often around recruitment. He said on Thursday he hasn’t yet spoken to the big boss at Chelsea, Roman Abramovich.

“There were no words from Roman Abramovich so far. I spoke to Marina [Granovskaia] and to Petr Cech and this was first of all confidential and then very trustful. Very honest and very clear. I have the feeling that this structure works for me absolutely to bring out the best. There was no moment of hesitation.”

There have been moments of high tension with similar figures at other clubs in the past, but Tuchel insists it was for the right reasons – and that he’s matured. For the German’s part, some at Paris Saint-Germain say similar. They insist he greatly learned on the job, and did well to navigate the nuances involved with managing stars like Neymar. The central flashpoint at PSG, meanwhile, actually came from supporting a current Chelsea player. Tuchel went in to bat for Thiago Silva when sporting director Leonardo wanted him out. That did bring emotive discussions.

Tuchel looks back on it all now with a more measured perspective.

“It’s pure passion, for sure,” Tuchel admits. “Also some principles. Your word is your word and I trust the word of a man. Once I lose the trust… Look, I know what you are talking about. Once the relationship is getting difficult, but 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 about it 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. And the other thing is the structure that I find here in the club is very clear and a very easy structure. Easy in terms of to understand there are not many people who make the decisions and I can absolutely live with that. When things are clear, it is on me now as the head coach to one on hand to adapt and on the other hand to make my opinion clear and to give the analysis of what I see, what I feel and where I think also that we can still improve and I hope this comes along in the right way.

“I am the guy for the dressing room, for the tactics, to bring the players into the mood so they are competitive and I am very, very happy to leave everybody with their own responsibility and to do this in their own way.”

Tuchel knows the Chelsea way, though, and that is anything he says in his introductory press conference – or on pretty much any day – is irrelevant next to what matters most.

“In the end, the club makes this very clear, Chelsea is about results.”

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