Thomas Tuchel has admitted that the European Super League saga was a distraction for Chelsea but does not think there will be any issues of trust between the club and their fans.
Chelsea were one of six Premier League clubs to enter a breakaway European Super League recently. But the project imploded due to severe backlash and all six of those teams pulled out. Chelsea were one of the first to withdraw.
They will now be turning their attention to the future but the fall out from the ESL debacle will continue for days and weeks.
Tuchel insists he wants to “move on” but had to fend off many questions about the events of the past few days at his press conference to preview Chelsea’s match with West Ham.
The Blues boss revealed he was trying to keep out of the situation and is solely focused on preparing for games in the competitions they will remain in.
He said: “To be very honest, I had so much information until the day of the match and after the match, that I gave myself the luxury of not reading any news, watching any news about anything.
“So, the thing is off, we know what the situation is, the situation is clear, and that helps me as a coach to prepare my team for an important match. That’s pretty much everything.
“I have had enough pre-match and post-match press conference talks about it. And now it doesn’t even exist, so I’m happy to move on.”
At many of the clubs who were part of the breakaway group, issues of trust have opened up. At some, there have been calls for owners to leave.
But Tuchel does not think there will be a similar situation and maintains that Roman Abramovich is the right man to lead the club from the top.
Asked if it would be hard to win fans’ trust back, Tuchel said: “No, because I think that the people and the fans know very, very well that it’s also the credit from the owners who improve their clubs, build strong clubs and make the most competitive league in the world.
“So I think they appreciate that very, very well. And people can read very clearly also and can divide one thing from another, and they express their opinion on this decision. They were absolutely not happy, the fans obviously.
“But I don’t think it affects, in general, the opinion of what, for example, our owner of this club does for the community, does for the academy, for the women’s team, and for the first team.”
Continuing his defence of the ownership, Tuchel said he did not need an apology like the ones other clubs’ owners have issued to their managers.
He said: “No, nobody needs to apologise. And I have not spoken to the owner since I have arrived, which is absolutely not a problem.
“But I was in dialogue with the club before and after the match [vs Brighton], so I was informed that we were pulling out and that was pretty much all I needed, to prepare the team for the next match against West Ham.”
Tuchel admitted that the ESL saga has been a distraction but distanced himself from it.
He said: “Yes, but it’s the owner’s club. It’s not my club. I am part of the club but that was the owner’s decision and the club’s decision.
“Now they changed it and there is no need to apologise to me directly. My job is to adapt to the circumstances.
“Were we distracted? Yes, clearly. It wouldn’t have made sense to focus on games. Since Sunday we spoke about nothing else but the Super League.
“Me, personally, I arrived in a state of mind on Tuesday without the usual mindset I arrive for a match with. It’s already in the past now. And like I said, I don’t think they need to apologise to me.”
Tuchel denies trust issues
There have been calls from Chelsea Supporters’ Trust for the departures of Bruce Buck and Guy Laurence.
However, in connection with those calls, Tuchel again denied Chelsea would find it difficult to repair the wounds.
He said: “It was not against the club or the team. We didn’t feel it like this. It was against a decision the club made and now that decision is off. So why should there be any worries?
“They (the supporters) expressed themselves as is their right and they were heard in this situation. They were heard. The club has pulled out and changed its decision.
“But in general, I’m very sure everyone sees what our owner and the other owners of the big six teams do for this league. They are a big, big part of this competition. It is a competition where everyone in Europe envies us to be in it and to have a competition like this.
“The solid basis is the big six teams and all the other teams are strong, there are strong managers, strong players, big clubs, and this is what makes it for the clubs. So I am very sure people can divide. It’s not about politics here.”