Here’s everything Tuchel had to say during Thursday’s unveiling…
Why not? It was the opportunity at one of the biggest clubs in the world, in the most competitive league in the world.
It was the moment that felt like we should absolutely not miss the chance to be part of the Chelsea family, and to compete for titles with the best managers and the best teams.
So that was a pretty easy choice.
Fear of the firing culture?
Yes and no, but I’m absolutely grateful I can work on this level.
If you sign for Chelsea you sign for the hunger of titles, you sign for being absolutely competitive in every competition you play. I’m totally aware of that.
It is like you said but it does not scare me, we have big ambitions. Me myself, I have the biggest ambitions.
I’m very excited about the mixture of the team, I’m very excited about the structure of the club, and the first days were amazing.
And I’m absolutely aware that at some point everybody expects results but honestly, I’m doing that of myself.
Worried of fan backlash after Lampard?
Fan backlash, I don’t know. I hope not because that would be hard on the team, because we need our supporters like any team, and in a stadium like ours, like Chelsea, to have the fans so close and so close behind the team makes absolutely the difference.
I can absolutely assume it’s a big, big disappointment for the fan base to see that Frank was sacked.
I can only repeat I have the biggest respect, I was a huge fan of Frank as a player, it was a huge joy to watch him play and to see how he played.
He was one of the key figures to demonstrate in 90 minutes what Chelsea was about, intensity, devotion, winning mentality. And so I have the biggest respect for him personally and for his legacy.
It just got bigger when I received a personal message today to wish me all the best and maybe to meet in the future when this is possible. So honestly nothing has changed there.
But in the last 72 hours the club made clear to me this is clearly not my fault and I cannot change the situation for him.
The decision was made and I was handed the opportunity, but I totally mean what I say about Frank.
Any gaps you need to fill ahead of the transfer deadline?
No, it’s hard to judge for me right now because we have had one game and two training sessions.
I’m very happy with what I’ve seen so far in those trainings, the game yesterday, the performance the attitude and the talent and potential.
I think the squad is not too big, right now we have N’Golo Kante came back today.
So we have 22 players plus the goalkeepers, that is regarding our programme with three competitions absolutely not too much.
I have the feeling right now that the guys deserve to be trusted and I want to trust everybody.
If a possibility comes along that we all agree on making us stronger right away, okay, we will not hesitate I’m sure, but it’s not like we have the absolute need to do something.
As the fifth German manager in the Premier League, what will constitute success for you?
In the end, the club makes this very clear, Chelsea is about results. For us as managers, we always try to bring in performances to develop and improve players, to increase their value through strong performances. In the end, I am very realistic and I am in a club whose DNA it is to win and go for trophies.
I am here to challenge for every trophy that we play for and it means realistically that this year it is about the Champions League and FA Cup. To speak about the Premier League title is not realistic because there are too many teams between us. We will just lose focus if we start here but our job is also about relationships with the club and team, to push everyone to the limit.
Success is also to make everyone in the stadium happy, everyone should be excited to come to Stamford Bridge, people should be excited to watch our team and people should feel that the team plays with a special energy and atmosphere. These are the soft points of success but in the end, we don’t need to talk a lot because Chelsea play for trophies and titles.
Have you been hired as a German to get the best out of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner?
Yes, hopefully, if it is like this then they spoke well about me! I am not sure but if it is about this then maybe it is not the biggest disadvantage at this moment. Maybe it is that people can rely on how I love to work with young guys and guys from the academy and we have a lot of Chelsea boys here in this squad.
We will push them to the limit. It was also a bit strange that yesterday I stepped up for the first time in the middle of a season a day before the match, where you are doing the first meeting, but you already know five, six or seven players.
Of course, maybe they are German, I worked with them or at least have spoken with them. That made it easier for me but hopefully there are more reasons than my nationality to be the coach.
Was your favourite club Tottenham as a boy?
Wow, you really are digging deep! No, I want to be very honest because we played a Europa League game with Dortmund in Tottenham and everyone there was very friendly. I just explained it that when I was young, there weren’t daily matches live on TV.
There wasn’t any daily matches in the Bundesliga on TV, so what I did see was a match every four weeks and suddenly Tottenham came on our sports broadcaster once every four weeks. I heard the name Tottenham Hotspur which sounded like a very big adventure. It gave me an advantage when playing with my friends because they had no idea where that club was.
I told that story about when I was young and I needed the money! I was young! But that was one of my first experiences [of English football] and I wasn’t even aware that it was a club from London. But now that I work for their big rivals, you can be sure that we will do everything to beat them next week.
How challenging is it to take over at this stage in a season?
It is a big, big challenge of course.
It is, like you say, we miss the supporters and the energy but it is not only the supporters that we miss. For me it is crucial to create a certain special atmosphere and bond on a daily basis here at Cobham and in the dressing room too.
But with the current Covid-19 situation we have social distancing. At the moment we are using three changing rooms for the team, we can’t have everybody in the gym together at the same time, we have to adapt and for me, we can’t do big celebrations in training when we play six versus six.
All of these little details that maybe normally we don’t talk about or think about, they make a big difference to create a certain bond, a glue, between the players to create the atmosphere that you can take to the dressing room.
Thomas Tuchel vows to build Chelsea team ‘that nobody wants to play against’
That does not exist and at the same time, the biggest thing is the empty stadiums, it affects everybody on a personal level so some players are a bit more scared than others, about parents and grandparents. This is a huge thing for everyone to deal with, but we have now and in the middle of the season.
But at the same time, like I said there is no time to think about that so maybe it was good to be a part of this adventure. I didn’t hesitate but it is a big challenge for sure.
Have you spoken to Pep Guardiola about the Premier League and the challenges?
Absolutely, I spoke with Pep a lot since he came here and I have followed the Premier League very closely from Germany and France, that is clear because this is the benchmark of leagues.
I saw that yesterday on a physical level, on a level of athleticism and emotion and completely different level than we are used to. But it brings out the best in us coaches and the best in our players, I truly believe in that.
Personally, this is something to steam up to and to compete against the best coaches in the world. It will bring out the best in me for sure and I am completely ready for that, I feel very positive about the challenge.
Can we read anything into your team changes against Wolves?
First of all that was a totally unfair team selection because I had no reason for any of the players who did not start, why they didn’t deserve to start.
We are starting from zero with one training session before the game that was excellent. I made the choices for a little bit more experience because I thought that if a club like Chelsea changes a coach, in the middle of the season and the new coach steps in one day before the game , in ninth place, I did not know how it would have affected the young players.
I went for more experience to put more weight of responsibility on the shoulders of the more experienced players.
There were no trust issues and if you know my reputation I will push every youngster to be ready and I saw in training today, zero doubts that we have 20 or 21 players that are ready to play for Chelsea and in games for us.
You should not read too much into it. We have to get to know each other and, in the middle of the season, that was the reason. Nothing else.
I think he’s the strongest in the double six, the centre and the heart of the game. Gives him little more freedom than when he plays a single six, what he can do. But for me he is a double six because we can use his energy and we can use his range and his volume in his game.
His ability to recuperate and recover balls everywhere on the pitch. He is a guy who is a big, big helper for everybody, with the mentality of a helper, a water-carrier, but at the same time a world-class player who played a crucial role in the World Cup win for France.
That’s why he’s super important to have him and for me the double six is the best role because it gives him a bit more freedom than the single six which demands a bit more discipline on the position and maybe cuts his wings a little bit, but I am sure he can also play there.
I wanted to take the weight off their shoulders. Of course when I told them I am absolutely sure they can handle the weight. I have no trust issues. I wanted to give the responsibility in this special moment to a bit more experienced players and have them in hand to have strong guys from the bench. There is nothing to worry about.
I like what I see from Mason so far, from his personality that I get to know now from three days. It’s amazing. Such a nice guy, such a competitive guy, such a lot of talent. And the most important – every game I watch so far he leaves his heart on the pitch. He cares for Chelsea 100 per cent. He gives the 100 per cent he has every time he plays and this is the best basis for a big development. I am very happy to have him around. I will not stop pushing him, I will not stop guiding him, I will not stop trusting him. There is absolutely nothing to worry about.
For Billy the same in a different personal moment for him because he didn’t play the biggest role like Mason did in the last weeks. Maybe the decision for Mason yesterday was the toughest and we spoke about this in person. For Billy I have a good impression. He is a very strategic guy. A very high level of game understanding. Very good in the first contact. Very clever in positioning.
We see if he has the physical level. If he can compete in the centre of the field in the most physical league in the world. We will see that, but he is super quick, super fast with his feet. Super fast with his decision-making and very, very good in positioning.
We have right now 21, 22 outfield players available, playing three competitions. There is absolutely no need that we have to get rid of players.