Thomas Tuchel cancels Chelsea squad’s day off to hold clear-the-air talks Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel has said his unpopular decision to cancel his squad’s day off allowed him to clear the air with his players after Chelsea’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Wolves.

Chelsea are at risk of losing their place in the top four after a poor run and the mood did not improve when the players were told to report to the training ground last Sunday. However, Tuchel said he was not looking to punish his side for blowing a 2-0 lead against Wolves and was trying to raise spirits before the world champions visit Leeds on Wednesday evening.

“We planned a free day but after the disappointment it was not to punish them,” the Chelsea manager said. “Maybe some felt it was a punishment. It wasn’t. It was not the moment for a free day; it is better to be together and talk about it. We did very light training, had a run together and discussed things.

“I think most of them expected a 30-minute teamtalk and then to watch the game again. Once they understood why they were here I get the feeling most of them accepted it and even looked up for it because there was an Under-23 game at one o’clock and I think two-thirds of the team stayed and watched it.

“Nobody was getting in their car and getting away as early as possible. They take their responsibility – that is what I love about the team. It’s not like they arrived here with closed faces.”

Tuchel, who denied reports of a row with Marcos Alonso during half-time against Wolves, said the session helped Chelsea prepare for Leeds. “I also canceled my free Sunday,” he said. “But this happens. If you want to be loved on a daily basis you should not become a football coach. Everybody was here and the reaction was very nice. We used the Sunday morning to go over it so we had the Monday free for training. We just cleared the air.”

Antonio Rüdiger has passed a medical at Real Madrid and will join this summer on a four-year contract.
Antonio Rüdiger has passed a medical at Real Madrid and will join this summer on a four-year contract. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

With Todd Boehly’s partnership close to completing its takeover of Chelsea, Tuchel suggested the sanctions on Roman Abramovich had dented his team’s edge and that the impending departures of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively had taken a toll.

Chelsea, who face Liverpool in the FA Cup final on Saturday, are close to being under new ownership. It is expected Boehly’s consortium will keep Bruce Buck as chairman and Marina Granovskaia could remain at Chelsea, who face Liverpool in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Continuity could ease Chelsea’s transition. They are unable to sell or buy players and are behind when it comes to summer planning. “You need to be careful with long-term plans at Chelsea,” Tuchel said. “You can end up that it’s not your plan any more. So a long-term plan is two or three matches. It’s high-level sport. You need to love where you are. I can just say for me everything is here. That’s why I dig in.

“There’s no other way. Things are a bit more uncomfortable and things are like since a long time now where you wish sometimes: ‘Can we not just have a positive message now for everybody?’

“If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. It’s like in a football match sometimes that you have to suffer, suffer, suffer. We have the feeling we get punished for not a lot. Even with results. It’s like: ‘It’s not enough to be already sanctioned?’ You keep on going. Then hopefully it lasts for a long time.”

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