The new Chelsea boss spoke out on his new club’s reputation for hiring and firing, while also discussing his own reputation after falling out with the respective hierarchies at Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and PSG
Thomas Tuchel insists he is not afraid of Chelsea’s track record for hiring and firing managers.
But the new Chelsea boss admitted he must “improve” his own reputation for being a difficult character and falling out with club hierarchies.
Tuchel, 47, was all smiles and charm personified as he spoke at length for the first time since taking charge at Stamford Bridge about his philosophy, ambitions but also the challenges at Chelsea.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has seen off 14 managers during his 18 years at the club – including Jose Mourinho twice – and Tuchel arrives with an order to get them into the top four this season.
When asked whether their reputation for sacking managers worried him, Tuchel said: “Yes and no.
“If you sign up for Chelsea you sign up for the hunger of titles. You sign up for being competitive in every competition that you play. I am aware of that.
“It does not scare me [to be sacked]. We have big ambition, and I myself have the biggest ambitions. I am excited about the structure of the club. I am absolutely aware at some point everybody expects results, but I expect that of myself.
“Of course we do everything to jump to the first four places. This is absolutely clear. If you do this job at the highest level, if Chelsea calls you, if you decide to jump in you know what you’re in for. For me it’s better to speak it out loud and it’s nothing to be afraid of.
“Maybe nobody expects me to be here long, maybe because of the history of coaches and Chelsea. Maybe I stay long. If I don’t stay long, I don’t stay long. I cannot lose my focus right now.
“On the highest level you don’t have time and I don’t want to talk about time right now because on Sunday there is the next match. And if I say now I need four weeks, maybe I don’t need four weeks. Maybe only four days, who knows?
“But on the way we must be able to win games and I am absolutely convinced that we can and we showed this yesterday (against Wolves ) and I want absolutely that we show this on Sunday.”
Tuchel also did not duck the question about his own personality.
His time at Mainz ended in fall outs, it ended with huge rows at Borussia Dortmund, there were public disagreements at Paris Saint Germain despite winning trophies and leading them to the Champions League final.
Straight away, as soon as his name was mentioned to replace Frank Lampard, his reputation for being abrasive, falling out with people was a reason why he would fit in perfectly at Chelsea – until, of course, it turns sour.
Tuchel said: “It’s pure passion, for sure. 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 this 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 to understand as there are not many people who make the decisions and I can absolutely live with that.”
Tuchel spoke about his faith in youth – he helped develop the likes of Andre Schurrle, Ousmane Dembéle and Christian Pulisic earlier in his career – and wanting to get to know London by its coffee and book shops when lockdown is over.
But his passion for exciting, attacking football also shone through. “I like attacking football. I like the approach of thinking about scoring and creating chances and this is how we spend our time to transmit to the players, to encourage them, to think up front, to think offensive,” said Tuchel.
“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 be excited, I want to feel a certain level of energy, to feel a special bond between the players. I want to be entertained, that’s it. We want to give the guys a good time.”