'Super hard-working' – Chelsea head coach Tuchel defends Boehly after Neville criticism

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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel rebuffed former Premier League defender Gary Neville's criticism of new Blues owner Todd Boehly, labelling the American businessman as "super hard-working".

Neville accused Boehly of treating Chelsea as if he "wants to play Football Manager", referring to the video game, and acting "panicky" in the transfer market.

The west London club have missed out on a number of key targets this window, with Jules Kounde from Sevilla and Raphinha from Leeds United reportedly snubbing Chelsea in order to move to Spanish giants Barcelona.

While they have completed the signings of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli and England international Raheem Sterling, Neville said about Boehly on The Overlap: "He's reacting to clubs and what they are doing. You hear his name too much, he's too prominent."

However, Tuchel was quick to defend the owner in a news conference ahead of Chelsea's Premier League opener against Everton on Saturday.

When asked about Neville's comments, Tuchel said: "Panicking? No, I would describe it as super hard-working and learning while on the job.

"The transfer market is one of the toughest things you can do when you come from outside, but I have nothing but the biggest respect and compliments for both Todd and Behdad [Eghbali, co-owner].

"I don't know when they sleep, I think maybe they never sleep. But we have a very honest, very open, very direct line of communication and the transfers so far speak for itself.

"We have a delay, of course nobody is guilty for that delay. We have a delay because of the sanctions [against the club when Roman Abramovich was owner], and the sanctions led to the loss of key players.

"But both of the owners who are involved in the daily business have done a fantastic job so far."

Ahead of the game against Everton, Chelsea have been boosted by captain Cesar Azpilicueta signing a new two-year contract, ending speculation of a move this window to Barcelona.

They have also completed the signings of 18-year-old midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa and Brighton and Hove Albion left-back Marc Cucurella.

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