Acting detached, not developing players, poor communication – Ornstein digests Tuchel sacking

·5-min read
Thomas Tuchel before a match Credit: PA Images
Thomas Tuchel before a match Credit: PA Images

Thomas Tuchel lost his job after the Chelsea hierarchy realised the German was not “in it with everything he had anymore”, according to David Ornstein.

Graham Potter is the favourite to become the new Chelsea boss after Tuchel was dismissed on Wednesday morning.

MAILBOX: ‘Next step’ for Potter should be Liverpool and not ‘directionless, bloated’ Chelsea

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss’ sacking came after the Blues’ defeat against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Speaking on The Athletic Football Podcast, Ornstein has discussed where it went wrong for Tuchel and the thought process of Todd Boehly and co.

“It’s been moving behind the scenes quicker than any of us knew because this was not a decision that was taken on the basis of last night’s result against Dinamo Zagreb. The decision had already been made and it sounds like it was a little while in the making.

“You could even trace the warning signs and alarm bells back to Chelsea’s pre-season.

“Senior people there seemed to have felt that Tuchel was acting in a detached way, the focus wasn’t there in the way they expected it to be.

“They have crunched the numbers and looked at the trends of goals scored, goals conceded in their first 50 days of ownership compared to their second 50 days of ownership. For example, they’ve looked at his demeanour, his behaviour, his connection with the players.

“They appear to have taken soundings of feedback from the dressing room and this feels like it was broken from the ownership’s perspective. Once they felt that, they didn’t see the reason to hang around. It would be better to make the call sooner rather than later.

“They didn’t feel he was developing senior players, let alone younger players, that you would more commonly hear about development.

“Players who were on the fringes were not feeling connected and integrated; take Christian Pulisic for example, or Timo Werner, Romelu Lukaku, both of whom have left, and it has unravelled in a shock way to us, in a spectacular way to the wider public, but it seems that Thomas Tuchel was not the man for this ownership.

“They are looking at things on a five, ten-year projection. And if you are feeling these things now is that the right way to be continuing? Is that how you wish to go on? They clearly felt no, and so they have decided to pull the rug from beneath his feet and the process to appoint a successor is already underway.”

Orny added later on in the podcast:

“One of the key reasons he (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) agreed to join Chelsea from Barcelona was because of the presence of Thomas Tuchel, his coach from Borussia Dortmund.

“I was starting to hear about tensions since the US tour around recruitment, Tuchel’s ideas versus the ownership’s ideas, whether they were on the same page.

“Take the Cristiano Ronaldo pursuit, or interest, for example. That was something that Todd Boehly and the ownership were willing to explore when it was raised along with his representative Jorge Mendes, and it seems Tuchel very publicly – even though he didn’t say it on the record – was revealed to be against it.

“He spoke publicly about taking on responsibilities that normally a coach wouldn’t have to during this transition from the (Roman) Abramovich to the Boehly, Clearlake ownership.

“I guess those schisms were starting to form and you can’t say it journalistically at the time but this week people were saying to me, maybe the international break for Tuchel if it continues this way, or maybe the World Cup. It was being intermated to me that Tuchel’s time was limited.

“Chelsea felt that he would have the emotional intelligence to really bring this squad on, work with the players who were on the sidelines, out of favour, out of form, bring the younger players through, collaborate with the most experienced heads, the mature characters in that dressing room, to get this show on the road. And that hasn’t happened.

“We are hearing today that the communication had been really slim at best with those senior players. The messages were not coming through.

“Look at his movement on the touchline last night, a lot of sitting on the bench, complaints coming through in his press conferences. I don’t think the Chelsea hierarchy felt that Thomas Tuchel was in it with everything he had anymore, and therefore, if he wasn’t, and they had their reservations, it’s best to part [ways].”

The Athletic‘s Chelsea correspondent, Liam Twomey also discussed the sacking and revealed that the vast majority of the Blues’ summer transfer business were “club signings”, as opposed to Tuchel’s signings alone.

Boehly forked out over £250million in the window to bring in Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa), Marc Cucurella (Brighton), Omari Hutchinson (Arsenal), Cesare Casadei (Inter Milan),Wesley Fofana (Leicester) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Barcelona).

“A lot Chelsea fans are saying: ‘Why did we give him a transfer window and sack him five days afterwards?’. I was being told the whole time, from an ownership perspective they were making club signings. Tuchel was having input into that and I think that’s most pronounced when you look at the Aubameyang deal.”

Asked if Aubameyang was a club signing, Twomey said:

“I think that’s probably the hardest one to argue. I think that was clearly geared the most around what Tuchel needed immediately.”

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