Premier League club Chelsea FC parted ways with coach Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday in a shock move.
The club said in a statement that the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.
Tuchel had admitted Chelsea are “missing everything” after Dinamo Zagreb ruined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s debut with a shock 1-0 victory in the Uefa Champions League on Tuesday night.
“Too much to analyse,” he had said. “I’m a part of it. We are clearly not there, where we need to be and where we can be. So it’s on me, it’s on us, we need to find solutions.”
Tuchel’s side were expected to cruise through Group E after being drawn with Dinamo, Red Bull Salzburg and AC Milan.
But Chelsea’s task might not be so simple after Mislav Orsic’s first-half strike punished the Blues for another sloppy display in their group opener in Zagreb.
The defeat to Zagreb was Chelsea’s third loss from opening seven matches this season. The London club are sixth in the Premier League, five points behind leaders Arsenal.
Having spent £250 million ($280 million) on new signings since the end of last season, Tuchel was under pressure to deliver silverware in return for that huge investment, but has been let go less than one month of the the new season.
The Stamford Bridge club, bought by Todd Boehly’s consortium in late May, defended the timing of the decision, which is understood to have been made before the loss in Croatia.
Chelsea FC statement:
On behalf of everyone at Chelsea FC, the Club would like to place on record its gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the Club. Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea’s history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here.
As the new ownership group reaches 100 days since taking over the Club, and as it continues its hard work to take the club forward, the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.
Chelsea’s coaching staff will take charge of the team for training and the preparation of our upcoming matches as the Club moves swiftly to appoint a new head coach.
There will be no further comment until a new head coach appointment is made.
The London club has parted ways with Tuchel just seven games into the new season, hours after they suffered a chastening Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb.
The former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain boss leaves Stamford Bridge after a tumultuous period at the club, which included a Champions League triumph and the end of Roman Abramovich’s reign.
Former Tottenham and PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino and Brighton manager Graham Potter are among the early favourites.
Chelsea are sixth in the Premier League table after three wins, one draw and two defeats in their opening six matches – already five points behind leaders Manchester City
Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss in January 2021, immediately adding steel and focus to the Blues, whose expensively assembled squad were badly under-performing.
The German, 49, steered Chelsea to their second Champions League triumph just four months later, with a stunning 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto.
His contract was extended by two years just days later.
But Chelsea hit stormy waters on and off the pitch last season.
Abramovich announced he was selling the club shortly before he was hit with UK sanctions after the government described him as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
Despite the off-field distractions, Tuchel guided Chelsea to the League Cup and FA Cup finals, losing both on penalties to Liverpool, won the Club World Cup and finished third in the Premier League.
Boehly’s consortium paid a world-record fee of £4.25 billion ($4.9 billion) for a sports franchise to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.
The club were transformed from also-rans into serial winners during Abramovich’s 19-year reign, picking up five Premier League titles and winning two Champions League trophies.
The new owners spent big in the recent transfer window, with more than £200 million used on signing players including Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But so far the heavy spending has not paid dividends, with damaging defeats against Leeds and Southampton hurting their Premier League campaign.
Boehly has followed Abramovich’s playbook in acting quickly to fire managers after a string of disappointing results – Tuchel is the second Premier League manager to be fired this season after Bournemouth sacked Scott Parker last week.
(Reporting by AFP)