A Big Challenge Awaits Tuchel

LONDON: Since his first day at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel has been aware of the culture of appointment and dismissal faced by Chelsea operators under voter Roman Abramovich.

“What’s the difference? If they give me four and a half years and they are not happy, they will still fire me,” Tuchel said at his first press conference after being awarded an 18-month contract with the London club.

Although previous greats such as Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte were all sacked after winning the English Premier League (EPL) at Stamford Bridge, and club legend Frank Lampard fell victim last month, Tuchel is ready to face the difficult challenge.

In contrast to the opponents who will be waiting for them in the Champions League action early tomorrow morning Malaysian time, Atletico Madrid, the rise of the Spanish club since a decade ago is only based on one operator – Diego Simeone.

Since Simeone took over the club in 2011, Chelsea have switched to a permanent manager nine times. The two teams will meet in Bucharest for the last 16 of the Champions League group stage.

Despite spending big on the transfer window last summer, Chelsea are now only in fifth place in the EPL.

Abramovich feels a change of management needs to be made to ensure Chelsea end up in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Despite a slight decline in recent performances, Atletico still lead La Liga with a three-point advantage and play less than a match against Real Madrid.

Since losing to Atletico in the semi-finals of the 2013-14 season, Chelsea have never won a Champions League knockout clash.

The Spanish club may have been disappointed by Real Madrid twice in the 2014 and 2016 finals, but their consistent performances at the top of Europe put them as the team of choice.

“In war, those who win are not because they have the most soldiers, but those who use them to the best of their ability,” Simeone said.

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