Tuchel Sees Red at the Blues


So, a UEFA Champions League, World Club Cup and the biggest summer outlay in football history was not enough to save Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea.

The German was handed his P45 rather promptly following the Blues' surprise Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb. A poor result yes, but it was only their first game in this season's competition. As for the league, sixth place after six games is no disaster either and certainly improvable.

The speed with which Chelsea sacked their manager and hired another within 24 hours strongly suggests they had planned the firing and were waiting for the moment to strike.

Tuchel sacked at Chelsea.

Perhaps it was the huge spending spree that sealed the German's fate. Chelsea are awash with big-name talent, but can only start with 11 at a time. Stars such as Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, who have proved themselves before, were sidelined by Tuchel, which probably caused some tension, but twas ever thus.

The real friction it seems was with the club's new American owner Todd Boehly, who arrived without football experience in May and oversaw the summer splurge, but whose involvement in team affairs allegedly irked the former PSG and Mainz manager. 

Reports suggest the two did not see eye-to-eye on recruitment, another perennial pitfall at clubs, where the manager invariably writes a wish list gleefully before unwrapping second-choice presents at the end of the transfer window.

It was an awfully fast falling-out if Boehly trusted Tuchel enough to hand him the biggest transfer kitty in the history of the game, before rushing to replace him with Graham Potter, a clearly imaginative coach but also a clear risk as he has never worked at a big club like Chelsea before.

Tuchel was always expendable in the end, whatever the trophy haul and whatever the sums spent in the transfer window were. Boehly is the only real manager of Chelsea. Only managers with longer reputations and honour rolls have anything approaching immunity, and never enjoy 100% protection from the sack.

Tuchel's 19 months in the job is less than the Premier League average of 25 months for a head coach, but interestingly England's top flight, despite its vaults of cash, is not as sack-happy as the other top leagues in Europe.

La Liga managers last on average 20 months, Ligue Un and Serie A coaches 13 months while Bundesliga bosses have it best, at an average of 21 months before they are called to the chief executive's office for a chat.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola remain the EPL's longest-serving managers, with over six years at Liverpool and Manchester City respectively. 

Then there is a step down to Thomas Frank, Ralph Hassenhuttl and Brendan Rogers, in their fourth years at their clubs, while Mikel Arteta and David Moyes are the only ones in their third.

Half the 20 managers in the top flight have been in their jobs for less than a year. 

Alex Ferguson's record of 26 and a half years at the helm of Manchester United looks like it won't be broken in a hurry.

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(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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