‘Tuchel repaying Abramovich’s ruthlessness’

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April 22, 2021
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    When Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich proved no-one's history at the club could shield them from his ruthless pursuit of success by sacking the iconic figure of manager Frank Lampard in January, he was following a well-worn formula.

    Abramovich has a habit of acting brutally but with ultimately successful outcomes – so it was no surprise that as Lampard went out of one door at Stamford Bridge, in came the experienced, proven managerial expertise of Thomas Tuchel.

    Chelsea were ninth in the Premier League when Lampard was dismissed, the statement confirming his departure insisting the club was "without any path to sustained improvement".

    Tuchel has had the required transformative effect. Their FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, following on from the Champions League quarter-final victory over Porto, certainly qualifies as sustained improvement after Lampard's latter-day struggles.

    • Watch: Chelsea reach FA Cup final as Ziyech ends Man City's quadruple hopes

    Abramovich's most spectacularly successful changing of the Chelsea guard came in March 2012, when he sacked Andre Villas-Boas after less than a year in charge and replaced him with interim Roberto di Matteo, who promptly went on to win the FA Cup and the Champions League in a quite remarkable series of events.

    It was not a long-term success and Di Matteo lasted only a matter of months after his permanent appointment and those great triumphs – but could Tuchel be about to reward another Abramovich intervention in similarly successful fashion?

    Tuchel carries more of a sense of permanency, if that word can ever be used about any manager at Stamford Bridge, than Di Matteo ever did and watching Chelsea subdue then overcome Manchester City so impressively at Wembley suggests a similar double is not beyond them.

    Roberto di Matteo with the Champions League trophyRoberto di Matteo's reign as Chelsea boss lasted eight months

    Chelsea will be favourites in the FA Cup final against Leicester City or Southampton and while Real Madrid showed their enduring class and resilience by beating Liverpool over two legs in the Champions League, Tuchel has every right to be cautiously confident against Zinedine Zidane's side.

    This knockout tie against Manchester City, won by Hakim Ziyech's goal, could yet be a rehearsal for the Champions League final in Istanbul on 29 May, with the Premier League champions-elect playing Tuchel's old club PSG in their semi-final.

    If that is the case, Chelsea can take huge confidence in the way their manager planned for this game and the manner in which his players carried out the strategy of closing City down and using the pace of Ziyech and Timo Werner to emerge as the better side and deserving victors.

    Tuchel possesses the sort of authority and track record from his career at the likes of Borussia Dortmund and PSG to command the instant respect of his players and his record at Chelsea so far acts as the proof.

    He is the first German manager to reach the FA Cup final and since his first game in charge in January, Chelsea have kept 14 clean sheets in 19 games, more than any other side in the top five European leagues. It is also one more than in Lampard's 29 games in charge this season.

    Tuchel had failed to beat Guardiola in five previous attempts as a manager – two at Mainz and three at Borussia Dortmund – so everything about this win would have tasted sweet.

    One look at his touchline demeanour confirms his demanding approach – a minor error from Werner bringing a full-on hop, skip and jump of fury from his manager.

    Tuchel has organised Chelsea superbly at the back, City barely having a chance, while N'Golo Kante and Jorginho provide a formidable obstacle as well as creation in midfield, along with the increasingly mature and outstanding Mason Mount.

    Kepa Arrizabalaga and Cesar Azpilicueta celebrateChelsea restricted Manchester City to only three shots on target

    Werner's end product continues to be erratic but he unselfishly set up Ziyech's winner and those inclined to criticise his contribution since his £47.5m move from RB Leipzig may note he has been directly involved in 19 goals for Chelsea this season – 10 of his own and nine assists – which is three more than any other player at the club.

    Kai Havertz only came on as a late substitute but the young German is also showing signs he is settling at Chelsea after problems with illness and form to suggest he will become a prize asset.

    The main man at the moment, however, is Tuchel.

    He has shown tactical expertise, restoring the influential Antonio Rudiger in defence and putting the superb Kante at the heart of his plans, while using his experience to get victories against his celebrated peers such as Jose Mourinho at Spurs, Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp, Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti and now finally Guardiola.

    Confidence, momentum and form are priceless commodities at this stage of the season and as Chelsea and Tuchel set their sights on the FA Cup final, the Champions League semi-final and a place in the Premier League top four, they currently possess all three in abundance.

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    826 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • M

      Comment posted by michael, at 23:28 17 Apr

      As Champions Chelsea were the first English club invited to play in the European Cup, but the FA wouldn’t allow them.

      This is when Liverpool were a regular Division Two side.

      Chelsea, along with Barcelona are the only two clubs to hold the EUFA Cup and European Cup at the same time.

      Chelsea are the second English club to win every trophy available to a club side.

      Small club, no history ?34647

      • I

        Reply posted by Info Addict, at 00:11 18 Apr

        "As Champions Chelsea were the first English club invited to play in the European Cup, but the FA wouldn’t allow them.This is when Liverpool were a regular Division Two side.Chelsea, along with Barcelona are the only two clubs to hold the EUFA Cup and European Cup at the same time.Chelsea are the second English club to win every trophy available to a club side.Small club, no history ?"Info Addict replied: It’s a pleasure to read a comment by someone who knows their history! CAREFREE!15515

      More replies (78)

    • A

      Comment posted by Abu Ethan, at 07:37 18 Apr

      Well done Chelsea. Great resul. But was I the only one getting irritated at the pundits saying over and again that the Man City quadruple was on the line? Surely a quadruple is only on the line if you’ve already won three titles and are in the semis or final of the fourth. Despite their league position, City haven’t actually won anything yet. Any talk of quadruples was just sloppy2195

      • D

        Reply posted by Dudley Perkins, at 07:43 18 Apr

        "Well done Chelsea. Great resul. But was I the only one getting irritated at the pundits saying over and again that the Man City quadruple was on the line? Surely a quadruple is only on the line if you’ve already won three titles and are in the semis or final of the fourth. Despite their league position, City haven’t actually won anything yet. Any talk of quadruples was just sloppy"Dudley Perkins replied: True dat285

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    • G

      Comment posted by Gazza1955, at 22:07 17 Apr

      Loathed at first for replacing the legend that is Frank Lampard, Tuchel deserves respect for shaping a team which has the potential to get better and better1709

      • M

        Reply posted by micky1up, at 08:39 18 Apr

        "Loathed at first for replacing the legend that is Frank Lampard, Tuchel deserves respect for shaping a team which has the potential to get better and better"micky1up replied: Footballing legend yes but an embarrassing managerial appointment7434

      More replies (11)

    • L

      Comment posted by LondonsFinestClub, at 22:01 17 Apr

      Tuchel is still learning his trade at the top table. He is a humble but ambitious man and speaks directly and honestly. There are no mind games!. He seems strangely sane15930

      • L

        Reply posted by La mitad mas que Indio, at 22:47 17 Apr

        "Tuchel is still learning his trade at the top table. He is a humble but ambitious man and speaks directly and honestly. There are no mind games!. He seems strangely sane"La mitad mas que Indio replied: I’m sorry, what? You do realize he managed PSG, right? and got them to a CL final last season?866

      More replies (22)

    • H

      Comment posted by hiphopanonymous, at 22:36 17 Apr

      Top manager.
      Chelsea lucky to have him.
      Very exciting group of players.
      The sky is the limit for them.
      Not a Chelsea fan btw.13813

      • S

        Reply posted by SIR CHARLES, at 07:10 18 Apr

        "Top manager.Chelsea lucky to have him.Very exciting group of players.The sky is the limit for them.Not a Chelsea fan btw."SIR CHARLES replied: honesty is appreciated.498

      More replies (8)

    • B

      Comment posted by Bricksnmortar, at 22:51 17 Apr

      I keep remembering Frank Lampard, right up to the end of his tenure, saying “we are a work in progress”. Seems now that he simply wasn’t ready. Maybe he is still a work in progress, I’m sure there will be another job and a chance to improve his knowledge if he doesn’t set the bar too high.1046

      • B

        Reply posted by bardez , at 07:14 18 Apr

        "I keep remembering Frank Lampard, right up to the end of his tenure, saying “we are a work in progress”. Seems now that he simply wasn’t ready. Maybe he is still a work in progress, I’m sure there will be another job and a chance to improve his knowledge if he doesn’t set the bar too high."bardez replied: It’s insightful to look back at some of his last post match interviews. You get a glimpse of his arrogance and delusion. He liked to talk things right, but should have stayed at derby or gone on to a mid table premier team for a few years. Look at Gerrard at Rangers for an example. In a few years, he might be ready for liverpool. Crazy appointment from both sides, Frank and Chelsea.7113

      More replies (20)

    • I

      Comment posted by InvernessFan, at 22:25 17 Apr

      I hope Gilmour is given more game time. He is a good Scottish player.977

      • 1

        Reply posted by -1, at 22:38 17 Apr

        "I hope Gilmour is given more game time. He is a good Scottish player."-1 replied: He will get it I think he is going to be a Chelsea great.568

      More replies (12)

    • M

      Comment posted by MarkyBoy, at 22:43 17 Apr

      An even better bit of business was getting rid of Willian and inflicting him on Arsenal… ;-)7718

      • B

        Reply posted by blue, at 22:44 17 Apr

        "An even better bit of business was getting rid of Willian and inflicting him on Arsenal… ;-)"blue replied: and luiz7211

      More replies (4)

    • W

      Comment posted by witeter, at 23:14 17 Apr

      Fantastic tactical match carried out by Chelsea, win totally deserved. Really enjoying Tuchels way of playing, onwards and upwards.508

      • S

        Reply posted by SammyValenteno, at 09:47 18 Apr

        "Fantastic tactical match carried out by Chelsea, win totally deserved. Really enjoying Tuchels way of playing, onwards and upwards."SammyValenteno replied: Jumping around and screaming in the technical area, is now part of the job description for all league football managers, because it shows “passion”.
        The stoic, calm, seated, analytical observations from the dugout of the likes of Alf Ramsey and Bill Shankly would be unacceptable today. They would be sacked, PDQ and dismissed as uncaring.416

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    • M

      Comment posted by Michael D, at 01:11 18 Apr

      Done well and a much better manager, sadly, than Lampard will ever be. But he is a volatile chap so it may not last.

      For now he proves that the goodwill towards Lampard was well meaning but ultimately misplaced if you want to run a football squad properly

      Unfortunately the clamour for home-grown managers is not going well with Rooney struggling at Derby and Parker about to relegate Fulham5011

      • E

        Reply posted by ellis , at 01:20 18 Apr

        "Done well and a much better manager, sadly, than Lampard will ever be. But he is a volatile chap so it may not last.For now he proves that the goodwill towards Lampard was well meaning but ultimately misplaced if you want to run a football squad properlyUnfortunately the clamour for home-grown managers is not going well with Rooney struggling at Derby and Parker about to relegate Fulham"ellis replied: british managers at top tier level cant outflank their foreign counterparts , just like most of our x car industry .3917

      More replies (8)

    • S

      Comment posted by Snowy, at 07:43 18 Apr

      I was quietly confident yesterday. I am usually nervous as a kitten when we play ‘big’ clubs.
      At the moment I think we are able to compete with anyone. Testing games ahead but Tuchel working with the same players as Lamps has been brilliant and never more so than yesterday.
      Kepa a whole 90 mins without a howler. There is hope.371

      • S

        Reply posted by SammyValenteno, at 09:54 18 Apr

        "I was quietly confident yesterday. I am usually nervous as a kitten when we play ‘big’ clubs. At the moment I think we are able to compete with anyone. Testing games ahead but Tuchel working with the same players as Lamps has been brilliant and never more so than yesterday. Kepa a whole 90 mins without a howler. There is hope."SammyValenteno replied: Will you be as confident, facing City a second time in the CL final???32

      More replies (7)

    • A

      Comment posted by Abu Hudhaifah, at 01:59 18 Apr

      Obviously Thomas Tuchel’s work at Chelsea has been remarkable. What a transformational coach. I could not imagine he is getting results with the same set of players Lampard couldn’t use. Defensively, Chelsea is the best in Europe since TT was appointed.364

      • C

        Reply posted by chelseablue, at 10:49 18 Apr

        "Obviously Thomas Tuchel’s work at Chelsea has been remarkable. What a transformational coach. I could not imagine he is getting results with the same set of players Lampard couldn’t use. Defensively, Chelsea is the best in Europe since TT was appointed."chelseablue replied: Maybe you hadn’t noticed that Alonso has been dropped again.11

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    • E

      Comment posted by El_Cuervo, at 21:59 17 Apr

      Chelsea will beat Real Madrid I fear.

      GG357

      • L

        Reply posted by La mitad mas que Indio, at 22:48 17 Apr

        "Chelsea will beat Real Madrid I fear. GG"La mitad mas que Indio replied: You never know. I thought Bayern, before the international break, would beat PSG without sweat, but injury bug happened and the rest is, unfortunately, history.104

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    • D

      Comment posted by Dabbadoo, at 05:47 18 Apr

      I almost wrote Chelsea off but then all of a sudden the engine is revving. The way they play is exciting. They posses, they challenge with dominance and they ask questions from minute 1.304

      • R

        Reply posted by Richard, at 10:21 18 Apr

        "I almost wrote Chelsea off but then all of a sudden the engine is revving. The way they play is exciting. They posses, they challenge with dominance and they ask questions from minute 1."Richard replied: Apart from the West Brom game, unfortunately. But that was the wake up call we needed, to knock any possible complacency out of the team. Couldn’t have happened at a better time, and has made us sharper coming into the business end of the season. Exciting times. KTBFFH150

    • C

      Comment posted by Clarkster, at 06:49 18 Apr

      Hopefully Levy watching the transformation at Chelsea and the difference a good manager can have on a team will spark action for next season. Not a Chelsea fan surprisingly, but you have to admire their turnaround from a few months ago.250

    • E

      Comment posted by East Coast Warrior, at 22:45 17 Apr

      The pundits just stuck up for their English international pal. It’s admirable in a way that they did that for a friend, but it was poor analysis and punditry.316

      • D

        Reply posted by DeepDarkBlue, at 08:28 18 Apr

        "The pundits just stuck up for their English international pal. It’s admirable in a way that they did that for a friend, but it was poor analysis and punditry."DeepDarkBlue replied: Agreed…And Lineker hates Chelsea and does the bare minimum to hide it.247

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    • 1

      Comment posted by -1, at 22:13 17 Apr

      Yes it Sure looks like our owner has done his magic all over again long may he continue, Are you watching Spuds. another defeat next week easy City win.307

      • C

        Reply posted by chelseablue, at 10:50 18 Apr

        "Yes it Sure looks like our owner has done his magic all over again long may he continue, Are you watching Spuds. another defeat next week easy City win."chelseablue replied: Even being a Chelsea fan I hope Spurs win next week, got fed up with all the City are the greatest rubbish the press have been forcing down our throats this season.150

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    • B

      Comment posted by blue, at 08:28 18 Apr

      Good god there’s some real sour grapes on here, both teams played hard CL games mid week, both teams made changes, that’s what a squads for , chelsea’s tactics were spot on, they nullified city’s danger chelsea’s in the final that must (p)iss a few people off i guess210

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    • M

      Comment posted by matt, at 23:10 17 Apr

      Very happy today, well done Chelsea for stopping man city so call quadrup, very good game well organized full of confidence, go on and win champions league255

    • K

      Comment posted by kinsang, at 09:59 18 Apr

      If Chelsea had lost yesterday, I wonder if there was an article in waiting along the lines of ‘Tuchel under pressure to deliver top 4 or win CL’. So much emphasis being put on this one win. This is nothing against Chelsea, but just a criticism of journalists who have probably written various articles on teams, changing their mind on a regular basis on the job they are doing.180

      • H

        Reply posted by Honest discussion, at 10:06 18 Apr

        "If Chelsea had lost yesterday, I wonder if there was an article in waiting along the lines of ‘Tuchel under pressure to deliver top 4 or win CL’. So much emphasis being put on this one win. This is nothing against Chelsea, but just a criticism of journalists who have probably written various articles on teams, changing their mind on a regular basis on the job they are doing."Honest discussion replied: Indeed. It’s all about narratives, which can change dramatically on single results.

        Though I’m not sure anyone would be saying Tuchel was under pressure to win the CL. Irrespective of what happens in the FA cup, the pressure will always be to make next years CL.21

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