Tuchel says he was ‘brave’ to take on Chelsea job immediately after PSG sacking.

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Thomas tuchel 

As the managerial fraternity reflects on another of its members getting the axe, the way Thomas Tuchel has bounced back from his last dismissal offers hope.

Sacked by Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve, Tuchel won the Champions League with Chelsea five months later and is now top of the Premier League.

For anyone in doubt, the German is emphatic proof that there is life after the sack.

‘Now Chelsea seems to be the perfect fit for me from day one,’ said Tuchel, who described Nuno Espirito Santo’s dismissal as Tottenham boss as ‘not good news and never nice to hear’.

‘I am super happy to be at this club, be part of the club and maybe this is the last per cent,’ he added. ‘If you feel happy and appreciated, everything falls into place very genuinely and you are able to produce results together.

‘I don’t know if I needed extra motivation but I wasn’t happy to be sacked at Christmas because my mission was not fulfilled. I had big plans for the Champions League campaign and to win the league again at PSG. I was hungry and on the way. It was a huge interruption.

‘But then some weeks later came a huge opportunity and the desire to step into this adventure was bigger than the fear and concern about the 18-month contract.

‘You need to take the adventure, be brave, courageous and I have the feeling I got a big reward.’

Tuchel modestly cited luck, the trust he has received from others — including his family and former bosses — and the team around him at Chelsea as key factors in the success he has enjoyed and the manager he has become.

Others will have to pat Tuchel on the back for his tactical nous and man-management, which has transformed Chelsea into such an effective unit.

The Blues now routinely meet expectations. Where required, Tuchel has shown his ability to inspire them to exceed expectations too.

On Tuesday night they visit Swedish minnows Malmo in the Champions League and there is little danger Tuchel’s side will be caught out.

He said: ‘It’s the fifth or sixth game in a row where we are considered favourites. I like a lot how my team approaches these matches because we put in effort and intensity.

‘We do not focus too much on the general view that we are the favourites. We’ve proved our point on the pitch and it is necessary to do the same tomorrow.’

The output Tuchel is extracting from his defenders is another fine example of his work — 12 of Chelsea’s 26 league goals this season, almost half, have come from defenders.

Reece James is their top league scorer with four after his double at Newcastle, and Ben Chilwell scored in three successive league games last month. Tuchel insists wing-backs like James and Chilwell should be considered midfielders more than defenders, but it is his tactical tweaks that have seen them operating further forward to ease the goalscoring burden on his attackers.

Chilwell said his goalscoring form has helped pick him back up after not playing a single minute at the Euros for England and, according to Tuchel, returning ‘mentally tired’ following his summer-long snub by Gareth Southgate.

 

Chilwell has been getting so used to chipping in with goals that he joked he was a little disappointed not to score in last Saturday’s 3-0 win at St James’ Park, which saw them pull three points clear of second-placed Liverpool.

‘The way the manager wants us to play, we probably spend more time in attacking positions,’ he added. ‘In the past few months, he has encouraged us a lot more to not just stay on the touchline but to play with freedom. Express yourself, enjoy yourself, help the team score goals and get assists.

‘The manager is very keen on telling us we attack together and defend together. He wants defenders to score goals and attackers to do the defensive side of the job.

‘At the moment that is what us helping us be a successful team.’

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