Interview

"Yes, yes, yes, do it!"

Thomas Tuchel showed no hesitation when the call came from Chelsea; four months on, the German coach’s positivity is giving the Blues plenty of reasons to cheer

INTERVIEW Caroline de Moraes

He took over from a club legend, in a different country, mid-season, during a pandemic. And he was tasked with turning around a faltering campaign that had kicked off with such high expectations. It was a big ask. But for Thomas Tuchel, there was only ever going to be one answer. Fired by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve, just four months after taking the French champions to the Champions League final, he began the new year with a fresh start, swapping Paris for London.

Finding your feet at a new club requires patience at the best of times; with Covid-19 complications, it’s uncharted territory. Here the 47-year-old German provides an insight into the early days at Chelsea for him and his backroom team, which included a 14-game unbeaten run, taking the Blues into the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup final, and adjusting to life in a London bubble.

The culture in the club is about winning and it’s about performance. We found our role very easy in the first weeks and it feels very natural to be here. We feel very good, so this is maybe the mix of what leads – with a bit of luck – to an incredible run of results. We’ve come into a well-structured club; this club is totally about football, there’s an easy line of communication, it’s very clear. So it left us to do what we do best and that is taking care of a team, building a team, inspiring them with our ideas and then trying to bring out the best in them, because it is about the players and it is about the team effort.

Thomas Tuchel puts his new charges through their paces on arriving at Chelsea

We found a hungry team, a very open-minded team, a team with an incredible work ethic towards training and matches. They’re really competitive, they’re absolutely ready to give everything. They produce intensity, they push each other and they created a very strong bond very quickly. With the little bit of luck that is always needed, we’ve managed to get some results. We have shown a very good attitude on the pitch right from the start, and we encouraged everybody to keep on going and to trust in themselves.

We had a maximum of 72 hours to make this decision, to take this challenge. Maybe that helped. We had no chance to overthink it and say that it’s too risky for us, for our career, whatever. The feeling was very clear: “Do we want to take the challenge? Do I want to take the challenge? Is this a club for me? Am I excited about this team? Am I excited about this league?” And this was clear: “Yes, yes, yes, do it.” We jumped in. There was no time to be afraid. This is the toughest league: The best teams play here, the best players play here, the best managers are here. This is what gets me out of bed early and this brings, hopefully, what I expect from myself: the best out of me. Then I expect the same from my environment and then from my team.

He took over from a club legend, in a different country, mid-season, during a pandemic. And he was tasked with turning around a faltering campaign that had kicked off with such high expectations. It was a big ask. But for Thomas Tuchel, there was only ever going to be one answer. Fired by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve, just four months after taking the French champions to the Champions League final, he began the new year with a fresh start, swapping Paris for London.

Finding your feet at a new club requires patience at the best of times; with Covid-19 complications, it’s uncharted territory. Here the 47-year-old German provides an insight into the early days at Chelsea for him and his backroom team, which included a 14-game unbeaten run, taking the Blues into the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup final, and adjusting to life in a London bubble.

The culture in the club is about winning and it’s about performance. We found our role very easy in the first weeks and it feels very natural to be here. We feel very good, so this is maybe the mix of what leads – with a bit of luck – to an incredible run of results. We’ve come into a well-structured club; this club is totally about football, there’s an easy line of communication, it’s very clear. So it left us to do what we do best and that is taking care of a team, building a team, inspiring them with our ideas and then trying to bring out the best in them, because it is about the players and it is about the team effort.

Thomas Tuchel puts his new charges through their paces on arriving at Chelsea

We found a hungry team, a very open-minded team, a team with an incredible work ethic towards training and matches. They’re really competitive, they’re absolutely ready to give everything. They produce intensity, they push each other and they created a very strong bond very quickly. With the little bit of luck that is always needed, we’ve managed to get some results. We have shown a very good attitude on the pitch right from the start, and we encouraged everybody to keep on going and to trust in themselves.

We had a maximum of 72 hours to make this decision, to take this challenge. Maybe that helped. We had no chance to overthink it and say that it’s too risky for us, for our career, whatever. The feeling was very clear: “Do we want to take the challenge? Do I want to take the challenge? Is this a club for me? Am I excited about this team? Am I excited about this league?” And this was clear: “Yes, yes, yes, do it.” We jumped in. There was no time to be afraid. This is the toughest league: The best teams play here, the best players play here, the best managers are here. This is what gets me out of bed early and this brings, hopefully, what I expect from myself: the best out of me. Then I expect the same from my environment and then from my team.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

I still make a lot of mistakes, but I made even more mistakes when I was a youth coach. At every age that I trained I was always very ambitious to bring out the best in the team. I was ambitious about every single training session; this hasn’t changed. This enthusiasm and this childish joy to be out on the pitch and to work in football has never changed, but you need all these experiences to make decisions. This is my objective and my wish for myself: that I never stop progressing, that I never stop adapting to situations and that I never stop learning and growing.

It’s not a one-man show, not by a long shot. I’m here now with my friends. Arno [Michels], my assistant coach, and Benny [Weber], our analyst, I’ve worked with them since my first weeks at Mainz in professional football, so we’ve come a long way now. And with Zsolt [Löw], I brought him through, which I’m very happy about. He was my former player at Mainz and had his coaching career at the Red Bull clubs in Austria and Germany; he joined us for Paris, which was a big desire of mine, and I’m very happy that I could convince him to be an assistant coach. So, you know, it’s the best situation that I can wish for: I’m here with my colleagues and they are among my best friends.

We trust each other. This is natural – in 10 or 12 years you develop even your own language. Like, when we look at videos and talk about opponents we have a certain slang, a certain way of talking about it, and everybody knows what the other guy means. It was important to bring in Zsolt, with fresh ideas, who questioned our beliefs, because at some point you become so well known to each other that you can even be stuck in your ideas. I'm very happy that we met Cho [Christophe Lollichon] and Anthony [Barry]. They were here from Chelsea before. That keeps you alert and it’s good when people question your decisions, your decision-making, your approach. This trust is unique between me and my coaching staff; that is a big help because I never go alone. I feel totally safe with them. They know me, I know them. This is a team effort and being with this team here, at such a structured club, feels like a perfect fit at the moment.

“WE JUMPED IN. THERE WAS NO TIME TO BE AFRAID. THIS IS WHAT GETS ME OUT OF BED EARLY AND HOPEFULLY BRINGS THE BEST OUT OF ME”


We are very grateful that it’s possible to do our job, that it’s possible to keep on going and to play in the Champions League. What I demand of my players, from my staff and from myself, in the end, is to adapt to situations. For me, it is very difficult now to see my family because of corona[virus], the bubble and how to leave the bubble. I came here alone and I lived in a hotel by myself and, of course, all my staff [did too]. We were, like, eight weeks in the tunnel, but it was maybe also good to approach it like this. We stepped in during the middle of the season, so we had full focus on it. There was no distraction. We had full, full focus on Chelsea, then going and getting some well- deserved sleep and then going to the training camp.

It’s not always easy. Sometimes I worry a little bit that the players are [alone a lot], they spend many hours alone in their houses and they used to have their friends around, their families around. This is where I worry a little bit, because you demand the same things from them, the criticism [from the] outside is the same and the demands [from] outside are the same, which is not always easy to handle. But it’s easier to handle if you go home and have your family around, if you have a distraction, if you have people who push you, who you can really rely on. What sometimes [gets forgotten], even by me, is that a lot of the players go abroad, they change club, they change country and then they sit there and nobody can visit them. They miss their family and little problems can become a bit more important, a bit bigger than they used to be, because they’re [by] themselves, they cannot go out, they can’t [do] whatever. So maybe for me, as a coach, it’s a bit easier to adapt. Sometimes we forget that the players struggle with the situation.

He took over from a club legend, in a different country, mid-season, during a pandemic. And he was tasked with turning around a faltering campaign that had kicked off with such high expectations. It was a big ask. But for Thomas Tuchel, there was only ever going to be one answer. Fired by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve, just four months after taking the French champions to the Champions League final, he began the new year with a fresh start, swapping Paris for London.

Finding your feet at a new club requires patience at the best of times; with Covid-19 complications, it’s uncharted territory. Here the 47-year-old German provides an insight into the early days at Chelsea for him and his backroom team, which included a 14-game unbeaten run, taking the Blues into the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup final, and adjusting to life in a London bubble.

The culture in the club is about winning and it’s about performance. We found our role very easy in the first weeks and it feels very natural to be here. We feel very good, so this is maybe the mix of what leads – with a bit of luck – to an incredible run of results. We’ve come into a well-structured club; this club is totally about football, there’s an easy line of communication, it’s very clear. So it left us to do what we do best and that is taking care of a team, building a team, inspiring them with our ideas and then trying to bring out the best in them, because it is about the players and it is about the team effort.

Thomas Tuchel puts his new charges through their paces on arriving at Chelsea

We found a hungry team, a very open-minded team, a team with an incredible work ethic towards training and matches. They’re really competitive, they’re absolutely ready to give everything. They produce intensity, they push each other and they created a very strong bond very quickly. With the little bit of luck that is always needed, we’ve managed to get some results. We have shown a very good attitude on the pitch right from the start, and we encouraged everybody to keep on going and to trust in themselves.

We had a maximum of 72 hours to make this decision, to take this challenge. Maybe that helped. We had no chance to overthink it and say that it’s too risky for us, for our career, whatever. The feeling was very clear: “Do we want to take the challenge? Do I want to take the challenge? Is this a club for me? Am I excited about this team? Am I excited about this league?” And this was clear: “Yes, yes, yes, do it.” We jumped in. There was no time to be afraid. This is the toughest league: The best teams play here, the best players play here, the best managers are here. This is what gets me out of bed early and this brings, hopefully, what I expect from myself: the best out of me. Then I expect the same from my environment and then from my team.

"Yes, yes, yes, do it!"
Interview

"Yes, yes, yes, do it!"

Thomas Tuchel showed no hesitation when the call came from Chelsea; four months on, the German coach’s positivity is giving the Blues plenty of reasons to cheer

INTERVIEW Caroline de Moraes

He took over from a club legend, in a different country, mid-season, during a pandemic. And he was tasked with turning around a faltering campaign that had kicked off with such high expectations. It was a big ask. But for Thomas Tuchel, there was only ever going to be one answer. Fired by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve, just four months after taking the French champions to the Champions League final, he began the new year with a fresh start, swapping Paris for London.

Finding your feet at a new club requires patience at the best of times; with Covid-19 complications, it’s uncharted territory. Here the 47-year-old German provides an insight into the early days at Chelsea for him and his backroom team, which included a 14-game unbeaten run, taking the Blues into the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup final, and adjusting to life in a London bubble.

The culture in the club is about winning and it’s about performance. We found our role very easy in the first weeks and it feels very natural to be here. We feel very good, so this is maybe the mix of what leads – with a bit of luck – to an incredible run of results. We’ve come into a well-structured club; this club is totally about football, there’s an easy line of communication, it’s very clear. So it left us to do what we do best and that is taking care of a team, building a team, inspiring them with our ideas and then trying to bring out the best in them, because it is about the players and it is about the team effort.

Thomas Tuchel puts his new charges through their paces on arriving at Chelsea

We found a hungry team, a very open-minded team, a team with an incredible work ethic towards training and matches. They’re really competitive, they’re absolutely ready to give everything. They produce intensity, they push each other and they created a very strong bond very quickly. With the little bit of luck that is always needed, we’ve managed to get some results. We have shown a very good attitude on the pitch right from the start, and we encouraged everybody to keep on going and to trust in themselves.

We had a maximum of 72 hours to make this decision, to take this challenge. Maybe that helped. We had no chance to overthink it and say that it’s too risky for us, for our career, whatever. The feeling was very clear: “Do we want to take the challenge? Do I want to take the challenge? Is this a club for me? Am I excited about this team? Am I excited about this league?” And this was clear: “Yes, yes, yes, do it.” We jumped in. There was no time to be afraid. This is the toughest league: The best teams play here, the best players play here, the best managers are here. This is what gets me out of bed early and this brings, hopefully, what I expect from myself: the best out of me. Then I expect the same from my environment and then from my team.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

He took over from a club legend, in a different country, mid-season, during a pandemic. And he was tasked with turning around a faltering campaign that had kicked off with such high expectations. It was a big ask. But for Thomas Tuchel, there was only ever going to be one answer. Fired by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve, just four months after taking the French champions to the Champions League final, he began the new year with a fresh start, swapping Paris for London.

Finding your feet at a new club requires patience at the best of times; with Covid-19 complications, it’s uncharted territory. Here the 47-year-old German provides an insight into the early days at Chelsea for him and his backroom team, which included a 14-game unbeaten run, taking the Blues into the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup final, and adjusting to life in a London bubble.

The culture in the club is about winning and it’s about performance. We found our role very easy in the first weeks and it feels very natural to be here. We feel very good, so this is maybe the mix of what leads – with a bit of luck – to an incredible run of results. We’ve come into a well-structured club; this club is totally about football, there’s an easy line of communication, it’s very clear. So it left us to do what we do best and that is taking care of a team, building a team, inspiring them with our ideas and then trying to bring out the best in them, because it is about the players and it is about the team effort.

Thomas Tuchel puts his new charges through their paces on arriving at Chelsea

We found a hungry team, a very open-minded team, a team with an incredible work ethic towards training and matches. They’re really competitive, they’re absolutely ready to give everything. They produce intensity, they push each other and they created a very strong bond very quickly. With the little bit of luck that is always needed, we’ve managed to get some results. We have shown a very good attitude on the pitch right from the start, and we encouraged everybody to keep on going and to trust in themselves.

We had a maximum of 72 hours to make this decision, to take this challenge. Maybe that helped. We had no chance to overthink it and say that it’s too risky for us, for our career, whatever. The feeling was very clear: “Do we want to take the challenge? Do I want to take the challenge? Is this a club for me? Am I excited about this team? Am I excited about this league?” And this was clear: “Yes, yes, yes, do it.” We jumped in. There was no time to be afraid. This is the toughest league: The best teams play here, the best players play here, the best managers are here. This is what gets me out of bed early and this brings, hopefully, what I expect from myself: the best out of me. Then I expect the same from my environment and then from my team.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

I still make a lot of mistakes, but I made even more mistakes when I was a youth coach. At every age that I trained I was always very ambitious to bring out the best in the team. I was ambitious about every single training session; this hasn’t changed. This enthusiasm and this childish joy to be out on the pitch and to work in football has never changed, but you need all these experiences to make decisions. This is my objective and my wish for myself: that I never stop progressing, that I never stop adapting to situations and that I never stop learning and growing.

It’s not a one-man show, not by a long shot. I’m here now with my friends. Arno [Michels], my assistant coach, and Benny [Weber], our analyst, I’ve worked with them since my first weeks at Mainz in professional football, so we’ve come a long way now. And with Zsolt [Löw], I brought him through, which I’m very happy about. He was my former player at Mainz and had his coaching career at the Red Bull clubs in Austria and Germany; he joined us for Paris, which was a big desire of mine, and I’m very happy that I could convince him to be an assistant coach. So, you know, it’s the best situation that I can wish for: I’m here with my colleagues and they are among my best friends.

We trust each other. This is natural – in 10 or 12 years you develop even your own language. Like, when we look at videos and talk about opponents we have a certain slang, a certain way of talking about it, and everybody knows what the other guy means. It was important to bring in Zsolt, with fresh ideas, who questioned our beliefs, because at some point you become so well known to each other that you can even be stuck in your ideas. I'm very happy that we met Cho [Christophe Lollichon] and Anthony [Barry]. They were here from Chelsea before. That keeps you alert and it’s good when people question your decisions, your decision-making, your approach. This trust is unique between me and my coaching staff; that is a big help because I never go alone. I feel totally safe with them. They know me, I know them. This is a team effort and being with this team here, at such a structured club, feels like a perfect fit at the moment.

“WE JUMPED IN. THERE WAS NO TIME TO BE AFRAID. THIS IS WHAT GETS ME OUT OF BED EARLY AND HOPEFULLY BRINGS THE BEST OUT OF ME”


We are very grateful that it’s possible to do our job, that it’s possible to keep on going and to play in the Champions League. What I demand of my players, from my staff and from myself, in the end, is to adapt to situations. For me, it is very difficult now to see my family because of corona[virus], the bubble and how to leave the bubble. I came here alone and I lived in a hotel by myself and, of course, all my staff [did too]. We were, like, eight weeks in the tunnel, but it was maybe also good to approach it like this. We stepped in during the middle of the season, so we had full focus on it. There was no distraction. We had full, full focus on Chelsea, then going and getting some well- deserved sleep and then going to the training camp.

It’s not always easy. Sometimes I worry a little bit that the players are [alone a lot], they spend many hours alone in their houses and they used to have their friends around, their families around. This is where I worry a little bit, because you demand the same things from them, the criticism [from the] outside is the same and the demands [from] outside are the same, which is not always easy to handle. But it’s easier to handle if you go home and have your family around, if you have a distraction, if you have people who push you, who you can really rely on. What sometimes [gets forgotten], even by me, is that a lot of the players go abroad, they change club, they change country and then they sit there and nobody can visit them. They miss their family and little problems can become a bit more important, a bit bigger than they used to be, because they’re [by] themselves, they cannot go out, they can’t [do] whatever. So maybe for me, as a coach, it’s a bit easier to adapt. Sometimes we forget that the players struggle with the situation.

He took over from a club legend, in a different country, mid-season, during a pandemic. And he was tasked with turning around a faltering campaign that had kicked off with such high expectations. It was a big ask. But for Thomas Tuchel, there was only ever going to be one answer. Fired by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve, just four months after taking the French champions to the Champions League final, he began the new year with a fresh start, swapping Paris for London.

Finding your feet at a new club requires patience at the best of times; with Covid-19 complications, it’s uncharted territory. Here the 47-year-old German provides an insight into the early days at Chelsea for him and his backroom team, which included a 14-game unbeaten run, taking the Blues into the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup final, and adjusting to life in a London bubble.

The culture in the club is about winning and it’s about performance. We found our role very easy in the first weeks and it feels very natural to be here. We feel very good, so this is maybe the mix of what leads – with a bit of luck – to an incredible run of results. We’ve come into a well-structured club; this club is totally about football, there’s an easy line of communication, it’s very clear. So it left us to do what we do best and that is taking care of a team, building a team, inspiring them with our ideas and then trying to bring out the best in them, because it is about the players and it is about the team effort.

Thomas Tuchel puts his new charges through their paces on arriving at Chelsea

We found a hungry team, a very open-minded team, a team with an incredible work ethic towards training and matches. They’re really competitive, they’re absolutely ready to give everything. They produce intensity, they push each other and they created a very strong bond very quickly. With the little bit of luck that is always needed, we’ve managed to get some results. We have shown a very good attitude on the pitch right from the start, and we encouraged everybody to keep on going and to trust in themselves.

We had a maximum of 72 hours to make this decision, to take this challenge. Maybe that helped. We had no chance to overthink it and say that it’s too risky for us, for our career, whatever. The feeling was very clear: “Do we want to take the challenge? Do I want to take the challenge? Is this a club for me? Am I excited about this team? Am I excited about this league?” And this was clear: “Yes, yes, yes, do it.” We jumped in. There was no time to be afraid. This is the toughest league: The best teams play here, the best players play here, the best managers are here. This is what gets me out of bed early and this brings, hopefully, what I expect from myself: the best out of me. Then I expect the same from my environment and then from my team.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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