New Chelsea boss Tuchel makes big admission: Yes, I was a Spurs fan!

By John Skilbeck 29 January 2021 361
New Chelsea boss Tuchel makes big admission: Yes, I was a Spurs fan!

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed he was a Tottenham fan as a boy but insists he now only has eyes for Chelsea. 

The new Blues head coach had his formal presentation on Thursday, after taking over from the sacked Frank Lampard. 

Tuchel was brought up in the Bavarian town of Krumbach in the 1970s and 1980s, when sport on television was scarcely seen, and he puts it down to youthful naivety that he happened to support Tottenham. 

The ages-old enmity between Tottenham and Chelsea means Tuchel cannot afford to have split loyalties now, and he insists his days of idolising Spurs stars have long gone. 

"When I was young there was no daily match live on TV and no daily live match from the Bundesliga," said Tuchel. "What I could actually see was one or two minutes every four weeks and suddenly a club like Tottenham Hotspur came across on our sports broadcaster once every four weeks. 

"Suddenly I heard the name Tottenham Hotspur, which sounded like a big adventure and gave me a big advantage playing with my friends, because they had no idea where that club was." 

Tuchel joked: "I was young, I needed the money! 

"No, I was young but that was one of my first experiences. I didn't even know it was a club from London. 

"But now I'm absolutely aware I work for their big rivals and we'll do everything we can to beat them next week."

The trip to Tottenham on February 4 will be a major early test for Tuchel as he goes up against former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. 

Tuchel has plenty of Premier League knowledge and has an ongoing friendship with Pep Guardiola, boss of leaders Manchester City. 

"Absolutely, I spoke with Pep a lot since he's worked here," Tuchel said. 

He believes competing against such elite coaches and teams will "bring the best out of me" and had a smile when Chelsea's turnover of managers was mentioned. 

Tuchel knows he must succeed and keep succeeding to stay in his post, saying: "In the end at Chelsea, it is about results. 

"I'm very realistic that I'm in a club whose DNA it is to win and go for trophies, and I'm here to challenge for every trophy we play for." 

During his time at Paris Saint-Germain, whom he guided to successive Ligue 1 titles and last year's Champions League final, Tuchel became accustomed to demands for his team to keep winning. 

He was ousted from his job in December after PSG lost four matches in their domestic league before Christmas, yet across his time with the French giants his team scored at a rate of one goal every 33.7 minutes of Ligue 1 action. 

Chelsea began this season at an impressive clip by scoring 29 times in their first 14 Premier League games under Lampard, but the goals have dried up since, with only four coming in their subsequent six matches in the competition. 

They have not scored more than once in that run and it was a seven-game streak from October to December in 2015 when they last experienced a longer spell without getting two or more goals in a league fixture. 

On Sunday, Chelsea face an in-form Burnley, with Tuchel looking to make up for the false start of the goalless draw with Wolves on Wednesday. 

He said it was "not realistic" to target the Premier League title in his first season, with Chelsea already 11 points behind a Manchester City side who also have a game in hand.

"Realistically this year it's the Champions League and the FA Cup," Tuchel said.

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John Skilbeck