The German head coach has insisted that he won’t hesitate to criticise individual players in front of the rest of the squad at Stamford Bridge
Thomas Tuchel says he is striving to be an “unpredictable” character in the Chelsea dressing room, and that he doesn’t “do stuff to be loved”.
Tuchel has overseen a swift turnaround in fortunes at Chelsea since replacing Frank Lampard in the dugout last month, with four wins recorded from his first five matches at the helm.
The German has been able to bring the best out of previously inconsistent stars such as Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho and Timo Werner while also endearing himself to the media, but he claims to be a tough taskmaster behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge.
What was said?
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Newcastle on Monday night, Tuchel told Sky Sports: “Just because I’m trying hard to be kind to you guys [the media], does not mean that I am trying too hard and that everybody loves me in the dressing room because this simply does not exist.
“Can I be a shouter? Yeah, of course, if it’s absolutely necessary. I can be totally emotional, and I can also totally be a shouter if I feel this is the minute to do it and to surprise. If you do it all the time then no one would listen because it becomes a habit, so everybody gets used to it.
“The goal is also to stay a little bit unpredictable, and most of the time to be reasonable because, for me, it is important we build a trust and relationship that we can rely on.
“Players won’t get punished, shouted at or insulted in front of a group, this is unacceptable – but if we have to point out things clearly I’m a big friend of doing it in front of the whole group.
“If we have behaviours that harm the group and cause trouble for the team on the pitch, we should tell the players individually, but I believe strongly that everybody has to have the personality to swallow criticism in front of the group.
“That way no harm is done because we can talk openly. To be clear and to be honest, this will never change. I don’t do stuff to be loved by everyone in the dressing room, this is not possible.”
The bigger picture
Tuchel’s no-nonsense approach to management might hold him in good stead to last longer in the Chelsea hot seat than his predecessors, with club owner Roman Abramovich never having been one to afford a head coach any time to implement a long-term strategy.
Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Lampard were all sacked for failing to bring about immediate success, but the Blues have remained a competitive force despite the revolving door for head coaches.
For Tuchel to break the mould, he will have to continue delivering consistent results while also picking up regular trophies, and Chelsea still have two to play for between now and the end of the season.
The Premier League title looks out of reach at this point, but the Blues still have a Champions League round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid to look forward to as well as an FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United.