‘Nobody expects me to be here long’: New Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists he does not fear trigger-happy Roman Abramovich but understands need for quick success with Blues
- New Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel does not fear Roman Abramovich’s axe
- Blues are eighth and German manager has ruled out a title challenge this season
- ‘Realistically that this year it is about the Champions League and FA Cup’, he said
Thomas Tuchel admitted on Thursday he is under no illusion that his success and longevity at Chelsea will be determined by the trophies he delivers.
‘Maybe nobody expects me to be here long,’ said Tuchel, as he was officially unveiled yesterday as the 15th manager in less than 18 years of the Roman Abramovich era. ‘Maybe because of the history of coaches and Chelsea. Maybe I will stay long. If I don’t stay long, I don’t stay long.
‘I cannot lose my focus. On the highest level — and this is not specific for Chelsea — you don’t have time and I don’t want to talk about time right now because on Sunday there is the next match.’
Thomas Tuchel understands the expectations placed on him to win silverware at Chelsea
Chelsea languish in eighth, 11 points off the top, and Tuchel has ruled out winning the Premier League title this season.
He will aim instead for the top four and try to win the Champions League and the FA Cup, but does not fear Abramovich and his trigger-happy style.
‘If Chelsea calls and you decide to jump in, you know what you’re in for,’ said the 47-year-old. ‘You sign for the hunger of titles. It’s better to speak it out loud and it’s nothing to be afraid of.
‘It does not scare me. We have big ambitions, I do that myself. At some point, everybody expects results. Chelsea is about results.
‘Its DNA is to win and go for trophies. I am here to challenge for every trophy and realistically this year it is about the Champions League and FA Cup.’ By next season, he admits, they must be in a position to contest for the Premier League.
The Blues were held to a 0-0 stalemate against Wolves in Tuchel’s first game in charge
‘There is no time to waste,’ said the German. ‘At the latest, by the start of next season, we want to be ready to close the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool.
‘You can be very sure we will do our very best to fulfil our dreams and, if there are reasons we don’t make it, I will tell you the reasons.
‘If you think this is excuses, and if the board is not happy and thinks, “He’s not telling the truth”, OK, that’s it. If the reasons are reasonable, we try again.
‘This is it, I prefer to know what we are fighting for.’
Expectations in his previous job at Paris Saint-Germain were even greater. He won France’s domestic treble and led the club to their first Champions League final, but was still sacked when he fell out with sporting director Leonardo.
Tuchel, who said he had yet to speak to Abramovich, arrives in London with a reputation for being abrasive and difficult to get along with, not only at PSG but also with Borussia Dortmund.
Tuchel is aiming for Champions League qualification and an FA Cup trophy this term
‘Pure passion,’ he replied, when asked about this.
‘Also some principles. Your word is your word and I trust the word of a man. There are always two sides to every story and I’m not here to blame anybody.
‘I also see this in myself, I am self-aware and see this is a thing to improve; to be more relaxed and not too stubborn in my beliefs.’
Tuchel promised to work with Chelsea’s home-grown players, insisting he had not been appointed simply to get more from Germany internationals Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, two expensive signings who have been slow to settle.
‘Hopefully there are more reasons than my nationality,’ he smiled and offered encouragement to Mason Mount, captain in Frank Lampard’s final game in charge, against Luton on Sunday, and dropped for Tuchel’s first, against Wolves three days later.
‘There is nothing to worry about. I like what I see from Mason so far: a nice guy, competitive, a lot of talent and he leaves his heart on the pitch. He cares for Chelsea 100 per cent.
Chelsea are languishing down in eighth and face a battle to secure a top four spot
Mason Mount came off the bench on Wednesday night but Tuchel ‘likes what he sees’
‘I am happy to have him around. I will not stop pushing him. I will not stop guiding him. I will not stop trusting him. I have to prove they can trust me.’
N’Golo Kante returned to training yesterday and Tuchel wants to forge connections as he prepares to face Burnley on Sunday.
‘I am not the guy who thinks he can drive the bus better than the bus driver or treat the players better than the physio,’ said Tuchel. ‘I am the guy for the dressing room, for the tactics.
‘If I am a Chelsea fan, I want to be excited when I go to the stadium or switch on the TV.
Tuchel had some kind words for sacked Frank Lampard and called him an ‘absolute icon’
‘I want to feel a certain level of energy, a special bond between the players. I want to be entertained. We don’t wait for mistakes, we force mistakes.’
His strong and confident message will assuage some — if not all — supporters sorry to see Lampard sacked midway through his second season. And Tuchel paid his own tribute on Thursday to his predecessor — who sent him a message of good luck — and an invitation to meet up in the future for a chat when circumstances allow.
‘I have the biggest respect for Frank and his legacy here at Chelsea,’ he said. ‘As a player he was a joy to watch and he embodied everything Chelsea was about: intensity, devotion, a winning mentality.
‘He is an absolute icon. Me being manager here has nothing to do with Frank’s situation. This is not my fault.
‘The decision was made and I was handed an opportunity. I hope there is no fan backlash. That would be hard on the team. We need our fans, like any team.’
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