Class is the word of the day for Chelsea. Frank Lampard, Chelsea legend, was class right to the end of his tenure as manager and since. Thomas Tuchel seems to be assuming that same banner as well. It was revealed today that the Chelsea legend Lampard sent Tuchel a note wishing him good luck in his new position. What else would you have expected from this top-class player, top-class manager-to-be, and above all, just an all-around top-class person? It still pains that the former No. 8 isn’t on the sidelines for the Blues anymore. But it says here that he will be again in the future. Bank on it.
But in his first 48 hours on the job, it seems like Tuchel has many of those same qualities that our No. 8 possesses as well. It’s good to see. The game against Wolves was inconsequential (except technically in losing the two points. Could that come back to haunt? Maybe.). It was a game held after one truncated training session. That’s all. If there was a positive to be gleaned, it was time-of-possession, but that, as Blues’ Nation knows exceedingly well, is nothing unless the digits on the scoresheet are registered. And, as has been the case for much of the season, time-of-possession equals nothing. Nothing much changed against Wolves.
A massive advantage in possession once again mattered nothing as the Blues were again stopped from scoring the requisite score(s) to win the three points. As has been the case most of the season, Chelsea can beat or draw with the poorer sides in the table, but against the better or best sides, they are hopeless. A draw against a Wolves side that currently resides in 13th place in the table is nothing to stand up and cheer about. The draw is the worse of the two alternatives against a side of that ilk. So, in that respect, nothing has changed. Chelsea has beaten few if any sides of real consequence all season as a previous article explained during the euphoria of the 17-game unbeaten streak, which turned out to be the illusion that was suggested it may in fact have been.
But that was then and this is now. Lampard is no longer the manager of Chelsea, whether his legion of fans like it or not. It is what it is. But in his first day or so, the clear impression is that Tuchel is the real deal, as far as a person is concerned. His press briefings revealed a man in complete control of his interaction with the press and of the state of the team, as it stands today. In my view, he could not really have presented any better. He’s obviously a true top managerial professional, in a league with the best. And it should be no shock if he performs as the manager of Chelsea as successful as he has been as the manager of two massive European clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Paris St. Germain.
You are what you are. In Tuchel’s case, that appears at first glance to be a world-class manager with the potential to lead Chelsea to what he says is the only goal, trophies. That’s it. How can a Blues’ fan not like the sound of that? And yet, he tempered expectations for his new side that has not beaten almost anyone of consequence this season and has been on a downwards slide for weeks. He made it abundantly clear that a title chase at this point was not unlikely but that chasing a top-four position was certainly a goal to have in mind and to pursue.
It’s been a day or two. A draw against a mid-table side. A lineup that raises questions. But, it has been just two days. There will be numerous opportunities to judge Tuchel’s performance as manager of a club in which (absent a monumental acquisition in the next three days of say, a Dayot Upamecano) will have no influx of players in January, as Lampard had none when he took command in his first two transfer windows.
Should Tuchel fare as well as Lampard and gain Champions League qualification, this season will be an unqualified success. Should he go deep into the Champions League (not unfamiliar territory for Tuchel) and/or win the FA Cup, it will be even better. But for now, all we have is two days of tenure and loads of expectations.
We lost a legend, a class person. It was painful, indeed. Yet, we gained what seems to be another class person, and a world-class manager in the aftermath. It was a lousy week, but in evaluating all of the possible outfalls of this week, it could have been a lot worse than having Tuchel at the helm. Let’s see how all this plays out. As is said, that’s why they play the matches.