It is never quiet at Chelsea Football Club, and that could not be truer this week.
Within 56 hours, the Blues sacked Frank Lampard, hired Thomas Tuchel and drew with Wolves in a whirlwind few days. The managerial transition was never going to be easy for Chelsea fans, mourning the departure of one of their favourite sons without even a goodbye.
But now, it is time for Tuchel.
The German had been the frontrunner for the Stamford Bridge job for some time, renowned for his intrinsic philosophy and attacking style of football. Just 24 hours after he was unveiled as Chelsea manager, he was thrown straight into the dugout on Wednesday.
A first glimpse of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea was far from the finished product in a goalless draw, but there were lots of positive signs.
The return of a back three, which worked so often in Lampard’s favour, recorded the Blues’ first clean sheet in three outings. Even if it was at the expense of a blunt Wolves side, there was little to complain about at the back.
Chelsea looked braver, hungrier, more determined – qualities all seemingly lost in the tragic demise of Lampard’s reign. Within just one training session, they appeares as if they wanted to play for the badge and, above all, the manager.
Tuchel is a man with a plan. He knows what he wants to – and must – do in the critical four months ahead.
It will not be easy, but Tuchel is the right man for the job.
One of the biggest conundrums in the Lampard era was down to those on the pitch. Why was such a talented squad performing so poorly? Over £200 million spent, yet the Blues were well off their target of a serious title challenge.
What Chelsea were lacking was an experienced, world-class manager to get the very best out of a plethora of talented players. Lampard could have been that man, and frankly should have been. Yet now, with the final piece of the puzzle slotting in, we will finally see the results of Lampard’s project through his successor.
The squad is undoubtedly good enough, arguably one of the strongest in the league. The defensive pedigree of Thiago Silva. The midfield engine of N’Golo Kanté. The attacking talent of Mason Mount. There is little doubt that Chelsea are looking at a complete squad, one which needs few adjustments when the time comes.
Tuchel is regarded as a football genius, a modern mix of Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp. A serial-winning, tactically adept manager is what Chelsea have always yearned for under Roman Abramovich, and they have found that man in the 47-year-old.
Where Chelsea have struggled, Tuchel excels.
Lacking a sense of direction and motivation, incapable of adapting tactics, seeing star players out of position. Tuchel can fix them all, and while it may take time to settle in, the final result will be extremely promising.
Tuchel has shown what he can achieve, winning seven major honours with Borussia Dortmund and Paris-Saint Germain. He has managed at the highest level with the finest players on the planet, ticking every box on Abramovich’s excruciating checklist.
Can Chelsea flourish under Tuchel? No doubt. But the board must give him what they robbed from Lampard: time, trust and patience.
This combination has the potential to take Europe by storm, winning trophy after trophy and becoming the undisputed kings of the continent. But that will not happen overnight, and as we have seen, it rarely does.
If the club make one promise to Tuchel, it must be to see out his initial 18-month contract, at the very least.
It matches the exact time Lampard was at the helm – and that was not enough – showing that this will be a marathon, not a sprint. Tuchel has spent an average of two and-a-half years at every club he has managed, and if he is not still at the Bridge by July 2023, it will be a failure on behalf of the board.
Tuchel can work wonders at Chelsea, inheriting a talented squad to bless with his fascinating philosophy. He will have to maintain the backing of the board, win over the fans and rally the players together, in what may be his toughest test yet. Chelsea have a huge year ahead, but they are in the right hands.
If anyone can, Thomas can.
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