Thomas Tuchel is certainly in a difficult moment right now. Having celebrated his one-year anniversary at the club, the German has enjoyed a fine start to life in London, but by the high standards of the Chelsea board the threat of the sack is always around the corner.
With the title race almost out of the question, Tuchel will be hoping he can add another medal to his cabinet before the end of the season and with the Club World Cup around the corner in the United Arab Emirates, the pressure to deliver will increase with each dropped point in the top flight.
Based off Chelsea’s previous reputation when it comes to giving managers the chop, with MaurizioSarri given his marching orders despite winning the Europa League, Tuchel won’t have much time to rectify his errors. Finishing the season with just the Super Cup to show for it could well prove to be the end of the German’s tenure.
Tuchel arrived off the back of Champions League final defeat with Paris Saint-Germain in 2020 and after the Blues parted ways with club legend Frank Lampard, the moved seemed like a match made in heaven to those who bet on football with Paddy Power.
Tuchel was a breath of fresh air when he first joined the Premier League. Tactically astute and getting the best out a struggling side, he made sure to right the wrongs of Lisbon the year before and capture Chelsea’s second Champions League by beating Manchester City. The Blues confidence was at an all-time high.
This season has been something of a poisoned chalice. Despite starting the season like a house on fire, and looking like champions-elect by the time October rolled around, injuries have taken their toll on Tuchel’s side and after dropping crucial points in the title race, now look way off the pace compared to Liverpool and Manchester City.
After capturing the Champions League, you would assume the next step was to stamp their authority domestically, but things haven’t gone to plan so far and losing fullbacks Reece James and Ben Chilwell, who were instrumental to their attacking play, and Romelu Lukaku, have certainly put a halt to any title pursuit.
Lukaku, a £100 million acquisition from Inter Milan, was frozen out on his return from injury by Tuchel after an interview emerged where the Belgian mentioned how unhappy he was in London. Eventually the pair patched things up and the goalscoring accolades of the number nine will be essential if Tuchel is to win a trophy this season.
While retaining the Champions League is certainly audacious, this is essentially the same side that went all the way with some new additions, and a favourable draw against French champions Lille, whom Tuchel will be familiar with from his time at PSG, will give them that added confidence they can reach the quarter final.
As well as their trip to the UAE, the Blues other chance of silverware comes in the FA Cup. Chelsea host Plymouth Argyle in the next round after comfortably dispatching of National League side Chesterfield, but based on their indifferent league form, there’s always a chance the Pilgrims could cause an upset which could force the Chelsea players to tipping point.
Tuchel was visibly irritated when asked about the problems in the dressing room. In recent weeks Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger expressed their desire to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, with the latter commanding hefty wages that even Roman Abramovic would consider to be extortionate.
Tuchel admits that he may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his methods are a big part of how he coaches.
“Just because I am trying hard to be kind to you guys [the media] does not mean I am trying too hard so that everybody loves me in the dressing room, because this does not exist and is not necessary.” He said: “It is not necessary. But, in a moment where I am happy I can tell them also that I am happy with their attitude, their performance and the atmosphere in the dressing room. There is no harm in that, I don’t hold it back then.”
Investment will surely be needed in the summer. This is an ageing side and if players are to leave then Chelsea will want to avoid being left short of numbers – especially at the back.
NiklasSüle is keen to leave Bayern and would fit in well with the German contingent at the club, whilst Monaco youngster AurélienTchouaméni could arrive on a cut price deal to bolster the midfield. Whatever the future has in store at the Bridge, Tuchel would be wise to win a trophy to ensure he is a part of it.