Five challenges for Thomas Tuchel to tackle as he takes charge at Chelsea

James Robson
·3-min read
 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

There will be no time for Thomas Tuchel to settle into his new job.

Roman Abramovich has made it clear he expects an immediate turnaround. The decision to sack Frank Lampard with Chelsea still in the Champions League and 12 points off the top of the table is evidence the Russian believes the season is still salvageable.

That’s why he waited until Monday to end Lampard’s reign, confident Tuchel would be in place to take charge of tonight’s game against Wolves.

The German is being thrown in at the deep end and if he were under any doubt about the expectation on him to make an instant impact, it comes in the form of his short-term contract.

He has signed an initial 18-month deal, which gives him little-to-no grace period.

He must show between now and the summer that he is the right man to return to Chelsea to summit of English football.

While the former Paris Saint-Germain coach inherits a supremely talented squad – bolstered by £220million-worth of summer investment – he also takes on the problems his predecessor struggled to cope with.

Werner and Havertz

Lampard’s failure to get the best out of his marquee summer signings contributed to his departure.

Tuchel is used to working with the highest profile players after his time at PSG, in the form of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria.

The fact that he is German-speaking is an advantage but Timo Werner and Kai Havertz appear to be struggling with more than just a language divide. Havertz has failed to get a grip of the pace and physicality of the Premier League, while Werner looks devoid of confidence after one goal in 16 games.

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Trimming down a bloated squad

Chelsea have too many senior players who have been left on the fringes.

January was seen as an opportunity to offload them but Fikayo Tomori and Danny Drinkwater have been the only significant departures this month. Tuchel’s arrival could offer a way back for Kepa Arrizabalaga, Antonio Rudiger, Jorginho and Marcos Alonso. But that could add to the problems of juggling a bloated group.

It is hard not to fear for the immediate futures of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour – young players, who Chelsea would find it easier to offload before the window closes.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Forward planning

Tuchel had a public falling out with PSG sporting director Leonardo over transfers.

How he reacts to Marina Granovskaia’s control could be key to how long he lasts at the Bridge.

Lampard was desperate to sign Declan Rice, but the West Ham midfielder never arrived.

Tuchel arrives with summer planning already underway, with Dayot Upemacano, Erling Haaland and David Alaba all targeted.

Chelsea FC via Getty Images
Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Lifting the squad

Chelsea’s hierarchy were increasingly concerned about morale levels in a squad that has lost five of their last eight Premier League games.

While Lampard was unable to lift them out of their slump, there will be a number who will deeply affected by his sacking.

Players like Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Billy Gilmour looked up to the legendary former midfielder and will be hit hard by his exit.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Finding a system

Lampard switched between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 in the hope of getting the best out of his players – not least Havertz.

There have been suggestions some players said his advice was too vague – allegedly telling them to just express themselves.

Tuchel is more regimented in his disciplined approach and lauded for his tactical acumen.

He deployed a 4-3-3 at PSG and also a five-man defence. Chelsea have the players to operate either system.