Thomas Tuchel addressed the media ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday evening.
Chelsea head to Goodison Park to kick off their 2022/23 campaign and will be hoping for a change of fortune on Merseyside after losing to Frank Lampard's side back in May.
They have had the full week to prepare at their Cobham training base, leaving Tuchel with selection decisions to make as he ponders his first starting XI ahead of the new season.
Here's what the Chelsea head coach had to say on Friday morning in full in his pre-match press conference:
“He is a legend at the club. He can now lead as an example, keep on leading and keep on doing what he did for so many years. This is very good news for us.”
Todd Boehly and Gary Neville criticism:
“(Gary Neville said) panicking? No. I would describe it as super hard working, learning new on the job so it is pretty much going on. New ownership, stepping in the transfer market is one of the toughest things you can do. I have nothing but the biggest respect and compliments for both Todd and Behdad. I don’t know when they sleep, maybe they never sleep. We have a very honest, open, direct line of communication. The transfers so far speak for themselves. We have a delay, of course. Nobody is guilty, it’s because of the sanctions. This led to the loss of key players but like I said both of the owners involved in the daily business do fantastic jobs so far. The transfer market speaks for itself.”
Marc Cucurella and Levi Colwill:
“It’s not done yet. I don’t want to tell you that I know nothing. The paperwork is in process and hopefully we can get it finished before noon and Marc is our player. He is a fantastic, young player. Hungry, mobile, very intelligent player. Can play several positions in our system, that’s why we hope the transfer goes through and then if it goes through, it opens some options like for Levi Colwill to maybe find some more game time elsewhere.”
“It’s a bit hard to judge him. He came back, there was not a lot of game time in pre-season to give to him because of a little injury in training. We think the situation is the situation, it is always very individual. If there is a possibility for him to have a good loan or a situation where he can develop and improve, we are open to any talks and solutions.”
“I would be interested in the 79 goals (he scored under Tuchel previously), actually! We will not comment further. There are a lot of names out there, sometimes due to the fact we discuss a lot of names but also sometimes pure speculation. We will not get involved.”
Chelsea’s preparation for new season:
“We are some steps further. It was absolutely necessary. Maybe it was also necessary to lose that game like we lost it against Arsenal, against a big rival in the league who is trying to take our place. Maybe it was a wake up call for everybody. Since then we have stepped up. As always, the last week before the season is always where you feel a new focus, new excitement, new level of focus in training. Legs are fresh now, fresher than when we trained in Florida. Still we are not where we can be but let’s see, we feel ready and competitive for tomorrow. A very good training week so far, the atmosphere is back to where it was before the Arsenal game like in the first weeks of preseason. Then we lost the energy towards the Arsenal game. After that we needed to digest but last week is good, we feel ready for tomorrow. This is very important to not lose the focus and take the first week step by step. We took the possibility to prepare the whole week for Saturday, nothing else. This is where we are.”
“Frustrating is the wrong word. Was challenging, very demanding, time wise I was sometimes involved in things where I did not spend too much time normally. My day is only 24 hours like yours so sometimes I needed to and was happy to rely on my staff to do preparations for training more than I was normally involved. It was needed, was necessary. I spend a lot of time with our new owners to align our thoughts, align our ideas, to discuss and re-discuss our opinions. It was necessary, it still is like this so it was needed that I adapt. Was not frustrating but quite challenging and time consuming. I can do my job properly but some stuff came to it, extra stuff, we do our job properly and it decreased with every day we knew each other better. The communication gets clearer since we are here, it is business as usual plus some extra stuff regarding the transfers.”
Man City and Liverpool:
“I struggle a little bit to keep our ambitions down. I don’t want to lower our ambitions. I struggle also a little bit to put the pressure on us and say yes we can (close the gap) because I believe we are a club in transition, still. We are a team in transition still. At the same time I don’t want to limit us from the beginning and say it is not possible because who knows what is possible? For me it is possible in both directions so we should be humble and try hard to be the best version of ourselves. I can only speak for us, we have the capacity to win consecutive football games in the Premier League. This is what we try to do. We are well aware of the quality of Liverpool and Man City. I am well aware of the quality of Tottenham, Arsenal and Man United. This is normally one, two teams step up surprisingly maybe and over perform. This is the Premier League, which is why it is so exciting. I don’t want to limit our expectations right now. At the same time I don’t want to put too much pressure on us. I don’t think we are anywhere in the moment where this helps us."
Arsenal and Tottenham transfers:
“I think that Tottenham and Arsenal showed in pre-season and transfer market, and Man United, what their ambition is. They have a clear target to catch us and get closer to the top two teams. This is for me very clear. We are in the middle of it. It helps nothing if we break our heads over the other teams. We need to be ready for Saturday and we will be ready. We will take advantage of the start of the season where we have a full week to prepare. This is where the focus is. Step by step it seems we have a very competitive team. I am very happy with the players who came and made our squad stronger and with what they bring to this team. This is where the focus is. The players came late, we are in a bit of a delay, still need to adapt, still players to come in. It is a kind of disadvantage but for Saturday we have the guys we have. We rely on them and will push them to the limit. We can be ready to win a tough match in Everton.”
Playing with a false nine and Raheem Sterling transfer:
“(Signing Raheem Sterling…) surprised is not the right word. There were rumours, signs it could be possible. Any player with a one-year contract you can try. Very soon we had the feeling it was clear he would be a perfect fit for us in this stage of his career. He gave us the feeling he would be absolutely happy to make this step and step up into a new chapter, a new club and take even more responsibility in this stage of his career so once we had this feeling and feedback, we tried and succeeded which was for us very important. He is one of our offensive players. If we play in the same structure it will be very fluid. It can be Kai, it can be him, it can be Timo Werner, also Armando Broja who is now in the squad. Different profiles, different type of playing. Liverpool and City showed it is possible to be very successful with a fluid type of offensive player on the nine position. We go from there.”
World Cup splitting season into two:
“Hopefully not (another mid-season World Cup again) after. It does not make so much sense. You feel it. The players are very focused on this World Cup already, which is a good thing because they come in shape and take care about themselves. It is also a bad thing. They are focused on the World Cup and not here. A part of them, I have a feeling, is already thinking about November. We will see how it influences the players and the performances in October when it gets closer, then it will be for me a huge impact emotionally and physically on the guys that go to the World Cup. They will come back drained physically but also mentally with big success, big emotions, positive or huge disappointment, you never know. Then, right away, four or five days later, we have Boxing Day. Let’s see. Nobody did it before. We feel already and the talks with the players, the excitement, which is normal and a good thing. We try to turn it around and use it for us but I am a bit uncertain of all this. ”
“We followed him for many years. Me personally and my staff followed him for many years and tried many times and were never successful because it is very hard to get players from Napoli, who are well known for the fact that they keep their squad together. He’s a leader. We had good information about him from Edou, from Jorginho. We got the same feedback, a fantastic guy, leader in the dressing room, calm and a role model. When you dig in and start looking at his games, analysing his games, you see the quality in defending, the quality in body positioning, timing of defending. He uses both feet for build up, he is confident, mobile and very experienced. When we had the chance, we went for it. It was our top priority. Very happy that he is with us.”
Cucurella signing taking pressure off Ben Chilwell:
“Yeah. Absolutely it helps in depth and especially for Ben to escape the pressure of ‘I have to deliver. We need you absolutely now’. We have, of course, also in this position Marcos Alonso, Kenedy and Emerson. Hopefully when things go through, Marc is the option in this position and he (Cucurella) can play very well in the back three. It’s a profile of Azpi, with the left foot. He gives us many options. Especially for Ben, he is very ambitious like always. He couldn’t wait to come back to team training. He looks better and better but at the same time it looks like he needs more time to adapt to the physicality of the match itself, which is absolutely normal. It is not only about training and training exercises, little pitches. At the end it is a very demanding leave. We have to take care about him, it’s our responsibility. We can’t throw him in and see what is coming. He is impatient, we will never expect him to be fully patient. He knows, we speak a lot about it. Everything needs its time. He will get the time and still we will try to put him on the pitch as soon as possible. He is and was a huge asset for us with his speed and repetition of intensity.”
Five substitutions affecting younger players and managerial decision making:
“I like it a lot. We were the only league who did not use it so I felt it was a disadvantage in Champions League matches when opponents came from their leagues and had five changes available and we didn’t. I think we can now use this option and it gives you the possibility to use more players, have more impact tactically and physically in the game. It gives, of course, the players more chance for game time which is key also. It’s a huge factor in being satisfied and bringing your constant good energy, even if you maybe don’t start so often. We can reward players for their performance in training or in games.”
World Cup changing focus:
“No. In the opposite. We are what I explained before, not only because of the World Cup but also how we see ourselves, a bit of delay and the sanctions, change of ownership. We allow ourselves the luxury to dig in week by week now into this season. This is how we decided in the staff to communicate to the team, let’s take this opportunity and go week by week. This full week was dedicated to Everton. The whole next week will be dedicated by what we do, how we act and the way we train. Will be focus on Tottenham, then Leeds. This is actually how we start this season and from there we go.”
Everton clash and using Frank Lampard as motivation:
“We played very late last season in Everton, we lost. We remember very well. We need nothing more to know what is coming. Fantastic atmosphere, very emotional crowd, very emotional team. Of course we know some familiar faces on the other side of the bench. The bench is not so far away in Everton. And still, we have nothing but respect for Frank and his staff. A lot of people with Chelsea history, it was very respectful between the two benches and it will be but at the same time will be very competitive. Was a very late game in the season and we lost it and absolutely do not like to lose. We even dislike it more to lose twice, so we know what is coming and we will be ready."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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