Tuchel to stay with troubled Chelsea until at least 'end of season'

AFP , Sunday 13 Mar 2022

Thomas Tuchel insisted he will stay at Chelsea "until the end of the season", but the Blues boss wouldn't commit his future to the troubled club beyond that point.

Tuchel
Chelsea s head coach Thomas Tuchel attend the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Sunday, March 13, 2022. AP

Tuchel's side lifted the gloom around Stamford Bridge following the sanctioning of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich as Kai Havertz's 89th-minute goal clinched a 1-0 win against Newcastle on Sunday.

Abramovich has been sanctioned following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the billionaire said by the British government to be part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

Chelsea have been plunged into turmoil by the sanctions, which have left them unable to sign players, renew contracts or sell match tickets, with their revenue streams severely restricted as a result.

 

Amid fears that Chelsea could struggle to survive unless a new owner is found soon, there have been reports that Tuchel would be tempted to leave.

The German, who has led Chelsea to Champions League and Club World Cup glory in his reign, has been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Asked about his future after the Newcastle game, Tuchel offered a guarantee over his short-term future, but the reply left some room for manoeuvre.

"There's no doubt I stay until the end of the season. We just have to wait day by day because everything can change," he said.

"The club is for sale but hopefully it goes through. So day-by-day, which is a good way to live your life."

Tuchel's wild celebration of Havertz's winner suggested he remains committed to the Chelsea cause.

But with United set to appoint a permanent successor to interim boss Ralf Rangnick in the summer, it would be no surprise if the Blues boss is mentioned again as a candidate for the Old Trafford job.

'People are worried'

Admitting he is determined to focus only on keeping Chelsea competitive amid such a turbulent period, Tuchel said: "There are circumstances we can't influence but that gives us the freedom to focus on the things we can influence.

"The focus is on the first team, our players and me. But Chelsea is much more than just the first team.

"It is a massive club with huge tradition and there are hundreds of staff, it's not just the players, and it's important we show the spirit and give them the distraction."

Chelsea have been restricted in the amount of money they can spend on away travel due to the sanctions, but Tuchel said they were still set to fly to Lille for the Champions League last-16 second leg on Wednesday.

"My last information is we have a plane. If not we go by train, if not by bus, if not I will drive a seven-seater!" he said.

Aware of the strain of Chelsea's suddenly precarious financial position on the less well-paid staff members, Tuchel said he wants to provide positivity by ensuring the team keep winning.

"There are a lot of people I see on a daily basis who are worried. They've worked here for decades but are not famous and they are worried about the future," he said after their fourth successive victory.

"So we see what it means to these people, even if it is for 90 minutes. Like during Covid, we play to give people joy, anger, entertainment."

Newcastle also have controversial owners after being bought by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund last year in a deal that raised issues about that country's dubious human rights record.

But Tuchel refused to be drawn into criticising the government for targeting Chelsea and not Newcastle.

"That's a big question. Unfortunately, the situation is like this for the owners of Newcastle," he said.

"What can I say? I don't want to point the finger because comparing yourself and blaming others doesn't change our situation.

"Our statement that we condemn war and what happens in Ukraine doesn't change. There is no doubt."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
 
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