October 23, 2021

‘Oh, why 18 months?’ – Tuchel admits to concerns over short-term Chelsea contract

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The Blues boss has a shorter deal than many managers who are appointed at his level but he has no concerns about the arrangement

Thomas Tuchel has explained why he accepted an 18-month contract at Chelsea after replacing Frank Lampard earlier in the week.

The club icon was sacked after five defeats in eight games, with the Blues slipping from top of the league to tenth place in the space of six weeks.

With talks beginning before Lampard’s last game against Luton, an 18-month contract was offered to Tuchel with an option for an extra year. 

Increasingly, Chelsea are offering shorter contracts to their head coaches, having paid huge compensations fees for sacking managers like Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho in the past.

However, the Blues also have a reputation for being ruthless in the hiring and firing managers and Tuchel admits he was initially confused at the length of contract on offer.

“I want to be very honest with you, at first it was a concern, I was a little like ‘oh, why 18 months?’” Tuchel told reporters. “And after one minute I thought ‘what does it change?’

“What does it change? If they give me four-and-a-half years, they [could] sack me anyway. If they are not happy with me, they will sack me anyway. And if they gave me four-and-a-half years they would put in a clause that when they sack me, they’ll pay me.

“So where can I be sure that I’ll be there for four-and-a-half years? You cannot. That is the truth at this level. What is the role right now of the coaches? Are we in charge of the whole team and the transfers as well, or not, are we totally free in everything we do or not?

“Are we only responsible for bad results or also good results? What is this role and where do we find ourselves in that? So I decided not to worry too much, be brave enough to take on this adventure, because it was absolutely clear that I want to do it and I don’t want to miss the chance.

“It’s also my character to believe more in the chances than the risks. There is absolutely, for me personally, nothing to be afraid of. I’m very grateful to do this job at this level and I don’t want to waste my time thinking about risks.”

Tuchel went on to explain the conversations that he had upon coming to west London with director Marina Granovskaia, who runs the club for billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

“She told me very clearly that when you sign for Chelsea you have to win trophies. Well, not that you have to win, but you have to compete for them,” he said.

“This club is about competing to win the most difficult competitions: the Premier League and Champions League. That’s absolutely no secret. 

“There are even managers who won titles and have been sacked. You have one sat in front of you – it happened to me around Christmas, winning some titles and being sacked.

“In the end, I think what everyone is looking for is a nice guy, a hard guy, a trophy-winning guy who is funny and good looking, but that does not exist. So, I hope I am that guy who can [bring the right] characteristics for an era and a certain period at this club.

“It already means a lot to me because I have had three of my best days ever as a manager coming here. I hope this continues for longer but the demands are high. I hope we can fulfil everyone’s wishes because that means my wishes also come true.”

Chelsea face Burnley on Sunday after Tuchel drew his opening match 0-0 with Wolves at Stamford Bridge.