Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel in profile
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was sacked on Monday and is poised to be replaced at Stamford Bridge by former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel. Lampard paid the price for a slide down the Premier League table which sees them sat 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester United after a massive summer spend. The Express Sport team have had their say on whether or not Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is getting it right by bringing in Tuchel in the latest edition of the Big Debate.
So the axe falls.
It was inevitable. This is Chelsea. They don’t have much patience over there – and sacking Lampard makes sense given the results.
However, I think we’ll be in a similar situation in two years’ time.
Thomas Tuchel is combative, he ruffles feathers. He likes to cause conflict to get what he wants. Given this is Chelsea, he wouldn’t be the right appointment.
Sure, he’ll provide them with a boost. They’ll win matches at first, like what happens at all clubs whenever a managerial sacking takes place.
I feel some sympathy for Lampard, he probably did deserve more time. But he’ll be alright. It’s now down to Chelsea to justify this decision…
First of all I think it was the right decision to sack Frank Lampard.
You cannot sign the players he did in the summer and be where they are in the table with no clear strategy as to how you want to play with the talent they have at their disposal.
As for Thomas Tuchel, I think he’ll definitely get more out of the team as he’ll have a clear tactical philosophy he’ll impose from day one.
Of course it’s Chelsea so he won’t last long if results don’t go well.
One thing will never change. Roman Abramovich will not give managers time. That much has become abundantly clear.
Tuchel seems like the sort of match that Roman Abramovich would feel most comfortable with – and he is available.
The Russian oligarch has never had much time for club legend status – he wants managers who can deliver him success and can deliver it instantly. Just ask another former player, Roberto Di Matteo, sacked just months after delivering the ultimate, the Champions League.
After a year when his interest was stirred by the success Lampard enjoyed without splashing the cash, he got the wallet out. So when things started going wrong – five defeats in eight games – he wondered what he had been spending his money on.
If Lampard was still talking in terms of projects and developing people, Abramovich would just have to go out and find himself a manager promising the ability to deliver success on a shorter timescale.
Tuchel has never been shy in putting forward his credentials and his tendency to speak his mind has upset plenty.
But Abramovich expects and enjoys the more abrasive characters who have managed his teams and it is a good match in the short term. In the long term, his success would be decided by how well Tuchel gets on with his players. If he is indeed next through the door, some of those big names currently underperforming may find that the patience has run out.
If he does jolt them into gear, the top four is still up for grabs. Fail to achieve that and Tuchel will be forgiven, with failure put down to Lampard’s tenure. But no doubt Chelsea will be expected to mount a sustained title challenge next season.
I thought Frank Lampard deserved a bit more time to prove he was capable at the helm because we forget that this is a still young and top-heavy team – only Aston Villa, Wolves and Fulham on average have named a younger team in the Premier League.
Of course, he spent a lot of money in the summer but I think the lack of a pre-season to get the new additions fully to grips has ultimately been fatal – and that was an issue out of Lampard’s hands.
But then at the same time I’ll readily admit I’m not sure he was ever going to be a title-winning manager at Stamford Bridge and 18 months on it’s tricky to see what his big plan was, other than to utilise the club’s youth more.
Can Tuchel deliver the glory Roman Abramovich desires? Well he’s certainly a better and more experienced coach than Lampard, for a start. He’s got a brilliant footballing mind.
He should get a greater tune out of certain players and his first big task is to do what Lampard didn’t and settle upon a consistent starting eleven. That’ll help the likes of Timo Werner for sure.
I think Chelsea probably stand a greater chance of a top-four finish this season under Tuchel than under Lampard but it’s not an easy objective in such a hectic season and with the likes of Leicester and Everton going strong as dark horses.
But it’s hard not to see Chelsea being back at this same juncture in the next 18 months to two years, given Tuchel isn’t afraid from a battle with the board. So is he the best appointment? I’m not sure. If only they’d gone a few weeks earlier and got Mauricio Pochettino…
If Thomas Tuchel takes over from Frank Lampard he will take on a wonderful job but also an impossible one. Wonderful because of the squad he inherits; impossible because of the demands of the owner.
He should go in eyes wide open with a hefty pay-off clause inserted in his contract. A history of squabbles with the men above him hardly bodes well for life at Chelsea.
Tuchel though, unlike Lampard, is a proven top-end manager having guided Paris Saint-Germain to the Champions League final last season. He has handled big egos and expensive squads before.
Whether he will be the man to kick-start Timo Werner and Kai Havertz time will tell – just because he is German does not automatically mean those relationships will flourish – but he will also have an instant ‘in’ with Christian Pulisic who he worked with at Dortmund.
He is a strong appointment. But in no sense does that mean he will last at Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Tuchel. An excellent coach, a questionable talent evaluator, a prickly customer who is not afraid to ruffle the feathers of those above him. Tuchel and Chelsea has the potential to be a melting pot of ego, argument, and, ultimately, discontentment.
Equally, a German-speaking manager who has vast experience of European football, took Paris Saint-Germain to last season’s Champions League final, and, you would assume, would know how to get the best out of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, two of Chelsea’s marquee summer signings who have struggled thus far this season, could hit the ground running and reinvigorate an under-performing team.
Whether Frank Lampard deserved more time is debatable, but Tuchel certainly has the pedigree and coaching chops to suggest that he can get more out of a squad that had more than £200 million ploughed into it in the summer. A vigorous high press, expansive positional rotation, and detailed tactical instruction, all qualities that Chelsea have lacked under Lampard.
If this clicks, Tuchel could be the ideal person for the job. But it could also all end very messily indeed.
In short, yes. While Frank Lampard holds a legendary status at the club as a player, he was still a bizarre choice based on his predecessors.
Roman Abramovich has notoriously gone with experienced and renowned international managers at Stamford Bridge and that model has worked wonders in terms of trophies – despite its strong critics.
Thomas Tuchel won’t be a long-term solution at Chelsea but there’s now an expectation that that isn’t what Abramovich wants. He wants someone to come in, shake things up and get the best out of the Chelsea squad instantly.
He is renowned for playing expansive, forward-thinking football and there will be an added emphasis on getting the best out of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. If he manages that quickly then fans will quickly be on his side.
Improvement? Yes. Magic bullet? No. There can be little argument that Frank Lampard has taken a squad who achieved a top four finish last season backwards.
Despite a summer spend to make your eyes water, they have been isorganised defensively, increasingly toothless in the middle and totally lacking in confidence up top.
And while Thomas Tuchel is an upgrade in terms of experience, his record does not suggest he will be a magic bullet for all problems.
He has a record of dealing with the egos at PSG finishing first twice but he needs a different skill set to unlock the potential of this Chelsea side.
And his record at Dortmund was not so stunning – second and third in two Bundesliga seasons – as to suggest they have hired the second coming.
Tuchel can probably improve them short term and he may make the last eight of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid, possibly.
But he is going to need time to turn around a squad who are less than the sum of their parts and time is not what Chelsea managers get.
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