A few days have already passed since Chelsea was crowned champions of Europe, but it still does not feel real. The Blues’ season, which was an absolute rollercoaster from start to finish, culminated with a thrilling 1-0 victory over Manchester City that has unified the fanbase in a way that I have never before experienced in my eight years as a supporter.
The feeling around the club is unequivocally positive, which is also somewhat strange considering how poisonous Chelsea Twitter had been since the FA Cup final loss to Leicester City. The person most responsible for this change in attitude among fans, as well as an improved mentality within the squad itself, is Thomas Tuchel.
When Tuchel took over for Frank Lampard in the middle of January, Chelsea’s season looked to be on the verge of disaster. Lampard’s tactical deficiencies had left the Blues marooned in ninth place in the Premier League with any hopes of qualifying for the next season’s UCL deteriorating rapidly.
Since the German tactician’s appointment, though, Chelsea has been transformed into a defensive juggernaut that now boasts the best ever Champions League defense. The team allowed four goals in 13 total matches, only two of which came with the ex-Paris Saint-Germain boss at the helm. This unlikely run to the pinnacle of European football will never be forgotten by those of us lucky enough to have witnessed it, but, as is always the case among the continent’s elite, it is time to take a step forward. And Tuchel is the perfect manager to lead the Blues into the new era.
Chelsea, as we all know, is not a club that retains managers any longer than necessary. This has been particularly true during Roman Abramovich’s stint as owner, which, beginning in 2003, has seen 13 separate men take charge of the Blues, including Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink twice. Even those who achieved great things, such as EPL and Europa League titles, have been shown the exit door prematurely. (Mi dispiace molto, Maurizio Sarri and Antonio Conte).
Hopefully, this time will be different. It should be, especially given the amount of immediate success that Tuchel has brought to Stamford Bridge and his burgeoning relationship with the squad. If he is given the keys to the kingdom, there is a real opportunity to build a new dynasty in West London.
Of course, many things will have to fall into place for this to happen. Tuchel’s relationships with his previous employers have been notoriously difficult, specifically if he is not given control over the club’s transfer situation. A rather public power struggle took place as Tuchel departed the French capital, when he and the team’s sporting director, Leonardo, clashed over a lack of new transfers and contract renewals for star players.
A similar situation developed when Tuchel cut ties with Borussia Dortmund in 2017 as Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Ilkay Gundogan were all sold without his permission. Abramovich and the Chelsea board cannot make the same mistakes as Dortmund and PSG, as world-class tactical managers are simply too hard to come by.
There will obviously be some changes at Chelsea for next season, as many fringe players will leave and a true No. 9 will hopefully be brought in. Whatever ends up happening, though, Tuchel needs to be a key voice in the decision-making process. It would be incredibly refreshing to see the Blues embark on a long-term project, and with so many talented youngsters in the squad, the future is looking bright at Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Tuchel should be given the reins at Chelsea – The Pride of London