Inside Chelsea's sacking of Thomas Tuchel after Todd Boehly meeting had brutal conclusion

5 mins read

It was the timing that had Chelsea fans scratching their heads as much as anything. The day milestones became a giant millstone. Todd Boehly began his 100th day as the co-owner of the club by calling Thomas Tuchel in for a meeting just hours after his 100th game in charge.

Having landed late at night after the dismal 1-0 defeat in Zagreb, Tuchel had been due into Cobham early anyway for an immediate debrief with his technical team. Instead, his day took a different turn. After a brief personal meeting with the owners, he was suddenly out of work.

“The club would like to place on record its gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the club,” a pre-prepared public announcement declared just minutes later. “Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea’s history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here.

“As the new ownership group reaches 100 days since taking over the club, and as it continues its hard work to take the club forward, the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.”

Yet it is less than a week since they finished backing the German in the summer transfer market to the record level of £273m. Moreover, in little under a month the World Cup starts – a period when it is expected a number of clubs may take a leisurely review of the campaign so far in what promises to be a nervy few weeks for club managers.

It was an increasingly open secret that Tuchel’s tenure at the club may not have time to run. His tenure at Dortmund had ended when he fell out with chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, who described Tuchel as “a difficult person”.

At PSG he found himself at loggerheads with Leonardo – a battle the club’s sporting director was always going to be the one to win. Perhaps Tuchel owes his longevity at Chelsea to the fact that for a long period following the freezing of Roman Abramovich’s assets, the 49-year-old did not have a senior figure at the club to annoy.

Club sources blamed a “gradual communications breakdown” for the decision to sack the manager, although it was accepted that the World Cup hiatus this autumn would be a more relaxed period to plot the right strategic move going forward.

Signs, though, that the players were also becoming less enamoured with Tuchel brought matters somewhat abruptly to a head. Chelsea players are never the most eloquent bunch, but instead of the usual embarrassed half-apologetic acknowledgements as players left the dressing room in Zagreb to the team bus, there was nothing.

A stony silence from player after player, eyes locked firmly forward, as a collective deafness to all media requests in the mixed zone descended. Is it just hindsight, or did they suspect how delicately balanced things were and were determined not to be the ones to put any sort of word out of place?

Moving forward, these same players are going to have to be the ones to turn things around for the new manager.

After getting accused of a “lack of determination, a lack of hunger and a lack of intensity” while being played out of position and with no clear strategy, was no longer cutting it for them with Tuchel.

Now the next man to come in has to turn things around with £273m of Tuchel’s players.

One thing is for sure – right now it is all an untimely mess.

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