Thomas Tuchel will start his reign as Chelsea head coach at home to Wolves this evening, with the club insisting there is still “much to achieve” in the remaining months of the season.
The former Paris St Germain boss will take charge of the Blues for the first time less than 24 hours after his appointment as Frank Lampard’s successor was confirmed.
The 47-year-old German has signed an initial 18-month contract to become the 15th manager of owner Roman Abramovich’s tenure and his immediate task will be to reverse the fortunes of a team who have lost five of their last eight Premier League games and lie in 10th place in the table.
“I would like to thank Chelsea for their confidence in me and my staff,” Tuchel, who took his first training session on Tuesday night, told Chelsea’s official club website.
“We all have the greatest respect for Frank Lampard’s work and the legacy he created at Chelsea.
“At the same time I cannot wait to meet my new team and compete in the most exciting league in football.
“I am grateful to now be part of the Chelsea family – it feels amazing.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 26, 2021
Tuchel led PSG to the 2020 Champions League final, but was sacked by the French giants in December.
He will now be expected to unify a split dressing room and seal a top-four finish to secure Champions League qualification.
Chelsea’s board were understood to have grown weary of perceived muddled thinking in Lampard’s changeable tactics, with the 42-year-old paying the price for failing to integrate the summer’s £220million-worth of new signings, including German pair Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Chelsea owner Abramovich is understood to believe Tuchel’s experience in managing major egos and talents like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will allow him to hit the ground running with the Blues.
Tuchel has been itching to get back to work after his December sacking by PSG, and his agent Pini Zahavi has successfully sung his praises to Abramovich.
“It is never easy to change head coach in the middle of the season but we are very happy to secure one of Europe’s best coaches in Thomas Tuchel,” said Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.
“There is still much to play for and much to achieve, this season and beyond.”
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Tuchel must build a clear attacking strategy, find definitive roles for Werner and Havertz, tighten a tentative defence and also rebuild brittle collective confidence.
Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer, Lampard took the helm as manager in 2019 in a move to thrill Blues fans.
Lampard belied the club’s transfer ban and previous paltry recruitment under Maurizio Sarri to seal a top-four finish in his first campaign.
The club’s vast summer recruitment left Lampard with a bloated, imbalanced and callow squad, however, and the Blues’ inconsistency ultimately led to his sacking on Monday.