Only one man has survived three or more years as Chelsea manager since the day Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. J
osé Mourinho was the Russian’s first coach, so his long tenure was largely due to results, but also due to Abramovich’s inexperience as a football club owner. Since then, he has fired a plethora of brilliant coaches for various reasons and has built a reputation as the most ruthless individual in world football. In other words, in addition to Marina Granovskaia, director of the Blues and Abramovich’s right-hand man.
The most recent example of Abramovich’s cruelty was the firing of Frank Lampard. The club legend had his side firing on all cylinders after overcoming in his first season in charge. Chelsea temporarily reached the top of the table in December and advanced to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. Lampard was sitting handsome, on top of the world in his dream job. Everything collapsed a month later. The Englishman was fired and replaced by former Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel. The German led the Blues to victory at UCL, the second in their history. Now Tuchel is going through a difficult winter period that resembles those of previous years. However, Tuchel appears to have the club’s full support.
Chelsea are falling behind Thomas Tuchel despite recent struggles at the club
Cries of “we have super Thomas Tuchel, he knows exactly what we need” echoed across Stamford Bridge towards the final stages of the thrilling draw against Liverpool. While the outgoing crowd tends to support the coach regardless of their respective situations at the time, this was especially refreshing to hear. Tuchel’s team has been struggling lately, dropping to second in the league (10 points behind Manchester City at the top) after leading most of the early part of the campaign. The Blues look sloppy in some matches as they try to form a starting XI during COVID-19 and the bouts of injury that plague the club now. These struggles weren’t helped by Romelu Lukaku’s disturbing and immature comments that surfaced a few days ago. Despite all this, Chelsea’s faithful have made it clear where their loyalty lies.
In previous years, the press had been filled with rumors about the board’s unrest during a string of results like the current one. The way Tuchel handled Lukaku’s situation and guided the Blues through this unprecedented time while maintaining a high standard is nothing short of remarkable. The lack of exit rumors seems to confirm the board’s agreement on this matter. There are also reports that Tuchel’s decision to put Lukaku on the bench against Liverpool was taken alongside the players and the club hierarchy. There’s no way to confirm these rumors, and unless Tuchel speaks directly about these reports, we never will, but it’s an encouraging sign anyway. The German and the decision makers around him seem to be on the same page as they were on the first day, even after a tumultuous period last month.
This inspires hope that Tuchel will remain at SW6 for years to come. It also indicates the fact that the winning Champions League coach will receive some funds to play in January. Abramovich is as demanding as he looks. The Blues still have the opportunity to win four more trophies over the course of the current campaign (let’s make no mistake, the Premier League is out of reach) and the advice supporting Tuchel means they know what it takes to succeed. The German coach has been put in an impossible position at this point in time with the team he has, hope Abramovich opens his checkbook to allow for exciting reinforcements in the coming weeks
Despite all that, it’s just refreshing to see the Blues seemingly make the right decision at once. There shouldn’t be the slightest sign of replacing Tuchel, given all he’s accomplished in his time at the helm. In September, I wrote that you are the 48-year-old man who can break the chain. Three months away, my feelings have remained unchanged, even after a shorter-than-expected period to see 2021. The question is, does the club feel the same way as the author?