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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Chelsea have given Thomas Tuchel something that Borussia Dortmund and PSG could not

  Thomas Tuchel hadn't spotted the banner unfurled in the Shed End prior to Chelsea's Premier League clash against Leicester City...

 

Thomas Tuchel hadn't spotted the banner unfurled in the Shed End prior to Chelsea's Premier League clash against Leicester City – he was instead focused on the one passing across the Matthew Harding Lower that honoured Mason Mount. Thankfully the German's assistant, Arno Michels, was on hand.

It was he who alerted the Chelsea head coach to the banner on which his image was displayed. Tuchel's reaction was priceless. He went from being surprised to genuinely touched in an instant. A huge smile broke out across the face of the 48- year-old, who then embraced Michels before his attention turned to the match.

"I was very happy – I never had a banner before," Tuchel said on Thursday evening after his side had played out a 1-1 draw against the Foxes. "I was looking at the banner for Mason until somebody told me there was another banner on the other side [for me]. So very nice and thank you very much and I will do my best to earn it."


The majority of Chelsea supporters would agree that Tuchel deserved this moment of recognition. Not only because he has claimed three trophies – one of which was the Champions League – in less than 18 months at Stamford Bridge, but because of how he has conducted himself during one of the most difficult periods in the club's recent history.

From Russia's horrific invasion of Ukraine to Roman Abramovich's decision to sell the club after 19 years, it was Tuchel who had to face the most difficult of questions from the media, something that should never have been the case. Yet on every occasion, whether it be in front of the television cameras or with the written media, he was able to strike the right tone.

And it's that – perhaps even more than the trophy wins – that has earned Tuchel such affection from the club's supporters. His strength of feeling for the club is deep too; the 48-year-old has previously stated he has never been happier in his coaching career and that the working environment at Chelsea is the best he's ever experienced.

Tuchel's jovial and relaxed demeanour throughout his time at Stamford Bridge is at odds with the coach many expected. There had been high-profile fallouts with senior club figures during his time at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain while supporters, especially those of Dortmund, did not warm to the German.

Perhaps that is because the man he replaced at the Westfalenstadion was Jurgen Klopp, a coach that Tuchel himself has admitted can forge a unique bond with supporters.

"I was the guy behind him at Dortmund and it was another role to do this, not always easy. But I have nothing but the biggest respect for him for what he’s doing," Tuchel said ahead of last weekend's FA Cup final against Liverpool.

"When he trained Dortmund, the whole country loved Dortmund. Now he trains Liverpool and you have the feeling the whole country loves Liverpool. It’s big, big, big credit to him and this is what you deal with when you play with a team against him. It’s always like this."


Tuchel's time at Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, was dominated by petty dressing-room disputes and off-field club politics. He certainly didn't enjoy his time in the French capital and had a similar environment been found at Chelsea, those close to Tuchel believe he would've avoided top European clubs going forward.

That hasn't proved the case. Tuchel has loved working at Chelsea and the vast majority of the club's supporters have fallen for him hard. Hence the banner in the Shed End on Thursday evening, which you sense will get a few more outings in the months and perhaps even seasons to come.

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