While Chelsea fans will still be hurting from the dismissal of Frank Lampard, there’s little alternative than to force optimism as Thomas Tuchel prepares to take his place.
As reported by the BBC, Chelsea are set to appoint the former Borussia Dortmund and PSG boss to fill the now vacant managerial position, with Lampard leaving his former club in ninth place in the Premier League table.
Tuchel brings new ideas and a fresh philosophy to Stamford Bridge, being more tactically intricate than Lampard, if perhaps more difficult to work with, or at least so history suggests.
His sour departures from Borussia Dortmund and PSG may concern some within the Chelsea faithful who will be wary his relationship with Marina Granovskaia could nose-dive in the same manner as predecessors Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri.
Though, perhaps the emphasis should instead be on his achievements. A better win percentage at Dortmund than Jurgen Klopp and back-to-back league titles in Ligue 1. Neither are any mean feat, no matter what some will tell you about the quality of the respective leagues.
The Chelsea board will have made arguments for and against Tuchel’s appointment prior to deciding he was the right man to take him forward, with the balanced judgement, based on past successes and shortfalls, resulting in their decision to green light his arrival.
Whether it will prove to be a good decision is something only the future could tell us, but who better to foreshadow his tenure than Ed, founder of PSGTalk.com, who spent two and a half years watching and writing about a Tuchel-led PSG side.
We spoke to Ed in wake of the news Tuchel would be replacing Lampard at Chelsea…
Thomas Tuchel won two league titles and reached a Champions League final at PSG – but how fondly is he remembered among the fanbase?
The fanbase is pretty split on Thomas Tuchel. He did lead the club to its first-ever appearance in the Champions League final but there was also that debacle against Manchester United the previous year. Domestically, Tuchel won Ligue 1 every season he was at PSG but he didn’t win all of the domestic trophies. That might sound a bit harsh but when you consider PSG’s financial resources over everyone else in the league, winning everything in France every year is a realistic goal. In the end, fans grew tired of his abrasiveness to the media and more importantly, his inability to get the most out of PSG’s most talented attacking players.
What was the main reason that PSG decided to part ways with Tuchel, and was it the right decision?
If you ask me, the main reason Thomas Tuchel was sacked was because PSG’s sporting director, Leonardo, didn’t hire him. Tuchel was already in place when he came on board and the two actually clashed a few times publicly over transfers and the squad in general. When you consider that with the fact that PSG got off to a very slow start this season and were playing uninspiring football, the choice to get rid of Tuchel became very easy to make for Leonardo. It was 100% the right decision. Mauricio Pochettino is a former PSG player and several top clubs were looking at hiring him. PSG desperately needed a new voice and Leonardo wanted to make a managerial hire. With the tie against Barcelona coming up in the Champions League, we’ll see if it was the right decision.
What should Chelsea fans expect with Tuchel at the helm – the good, bad and the ugly?
Chelsea fans can expect a manager with a very high football IQ who is very tactical. He’s not the type of manager who will set a style of play and go with it no matter what. He adapts to what the opponent’s strengths are. He also isn’t afraid to experiment. Marquinhos is often overshadowed at PSG but he is a world-class center-back who Tuchel actually deployed as a defensive midfielder and with great success. Tuchel also isn’t afraid to give the kids a chance. Last season we saw the emergence of Tanguy Kouassi. Unfortunately, the young Frenchman decided to sign a professional contract with Bayern Munich, but that just goes to show Tuchel’s eye for spotting young talent. The bad with Tuchel is his relationship with upper management. We saw things go sour at Dortmund and we saw it again at PSG. How will Tuchel get on with Roman Abramovich especially if the team doesn’t win right away? Tuchel also has an affinity for complaining during press conferences. He complained about the late kickoff time for PSG’s matches and officiating. The media may love it as it gives them plenty to write about but it’s an act that can grow old quick.
Is there any Chelsea players in particular who will benefit from working under Tuchel?
Tuchel will be familiar with Thiago Silva, so I think that’s a partnership that might continue to flourish. The same goes for Christian Pulisic. Many might point to Timo Werner and Kai Havertz potentially doing well under a German manager, but Julian Draxler was non-existent in PSG’s squad under Tuchel, so I don’t necessarily think that will matter. Tuchel built PSG into one of the best defensive sides in Europe, so I would look for him to do the same at Chelsea. I’d look for N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rüdiger, and Kurt Zouma to take a step up under Tuchel.
What Chelsea players should expect the boot in the summer now Tuchel’s set to be appointed?
It’s hard to say as I’m not familiar with the contract situation of all the players. I will say that at PSG, most of the outgoing players were youngsters looking for more playing time elsewhere and deadweight, like Jese and Kevin Trapp. I actually really like Chelsea’s squad. I think they did a great job in the transfer market last summer. Tuchel dealt with A LOT of injuries at PSG, so he may prefer a large squad. I wouldn’t expect too many departures right away.
And finally, how was Tuchel’s relationship with Thiago Silva at PSG, to the best of your knowledge?
Some took Silva’s comments after Tuchel’s sacking as an indication that their relationship wasn’t great. I think what Silva was eluding to was what everyone already knew, Leonardo and Tuchel didn’t get along and it wasn’t going to be long until he was sacked. In fact, Silva has had his own things to say about Leonardo and the way his tenure ended at PSG. I think Tuchel and Silva can bond over how their situation in France was handled in a less than an ideal way (in their opinion). If I’m not mistaken, when Silva and PSG were negotiating a potential contract extension, it was reported that Tuchel was urging the club to retain the 36-year-old. That’s how highly he rated him. I think the two will get along just fine.
Once more, a special thanks to Ed, founder of PSGTalk.com, for speaking to us.