Chelsea’s owners have made a decision on whether or not their call to sack Thomas Tuchel last September was the right one, according to reports.
Following an 18 month stint at Stamford Bridge which saw Chelsea win the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup, Tuchel was axed by the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital ownership just four months after the club’s takeover as they looked to put their stamp on the club.
The decision came as a surprise to many but tensions were bubbling from pre-season and after a 100 day review, the call was made after their 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League to part company with the German coach.
Co-owner Boehly broke his silence shortly after the dismissal at the SALT Conference in New York to explain the decision, admitting: “When you take over any business you just have to make sure you’re aligned with the people who are operating the business. I think Tuchel is obviously extremely talented and someone who had great success with Chelsea. Our vision for the club was finding a manager who really wanted to collaborate with us, a coach who really wanted to collaborate.
“I think there’s a lot of walls to break down at Chelsea. Before, for example the first team and the academy didn’t really share data, they didn’t share information about where the top players were coming from. So our goal is to really bring a team together that, with the academy, with the first team, with the incremental clubs we want to acquire and develop, all of that need to be a well-oiled machine.
“And the reality of our decision was that we just weren’t sure that Thomas saw the same way we saw. No one’s right or wrong, it’s just we didn’t share a vision for the future. It wasn’t about soccer, it was really about the shared vision for what we wanted Chelsea Football Club to look like. It wasn’t a decision that was made as a result of a single win or loss. It was a decision that was made really about what we thought was the right vision for the club.”
Graham Potter was swiftly sought after and appointed by Chelsea to succeed Tuchel at Stamford Bridge, a decision which was hoped to lead the club into the future with a long-term appointment. After an unbeaten nine-game start things quickly went on a downward spiral and at the beginning of April, Chelsea made the decision to sack the 47-year-old.
The search is set to end this week when Mauricio Pochettino is appointed as the club’s new head coach, starting from the summer, following a thorough and exhaustive search led by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.
Lessons have been learned and mistakes have been acknowledged. Chelsea will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2022/23 season which is set to see them finish in the bottom half of the Premier League and miss out on European football next season.
Ahead of the Argentine’s imminent appointment, Rob Draper of the Daily Mail has reported that there has been acknowledgement and acceptance that the timing of Tuchel’s departure may have been the wrong call to allow for a smoother transition.
In his column, he writes: “Though the relationship with Tuchel was never going to work long term, in retrospect it is accepted that it might have been better to retain the German coach for a season for a more orderly transition.
“But as new owners, they wanted to get on with a fresh era as quickly as possible.
“Having dismissed Tuchel, with relations pretty bruised on both sides, there is a feeling that they overcompensated in appointing Potter because he was so adept at working the executives and owners.”
Chelsea were known to hire-and-fire managers under previous owner Roman Abramovich. The new owners are hoping to not follow the same pathway while overseeing the same success under the old regime. They’ve taken their time with Pochettino, and will now hope they’ve finally got a managerial decision right which will put them in good stead for years to come.
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