MICAH RICHARDS: Thomas Tuchel’s excuses for dropping Mason Mount and Reece James feel like a cop out and there doesn’t appear to be a plan after Frank Lampard’s sacking… I can’t see the new Chelsea boss winning the big prizes at Stamford Bridge
- Chelsea’s appointment of Thomas Tuchel does not not fill me with confidence
- The German’s first game was hardly inspiring as Wolves held Blues to a 0-0 draw
- I don’t see him sealing big prizes or outsmarting Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp
- Tuchel’s selection has cast doubt over the future of a host of young players
- Something about his appointment doesn’t sit right but I won’t write him off
There was a time when Chelsea changed managers that we would look at each other in the Manchester City dressing room and think: here we go.
Chelsea were the benchmark when I started as a professional, they were the standard-setters. From Jose Mourinho to Luiz Felipe Scolari to Carlo Ancelotti, you would look at the new man and begin to wonder what world-class players they would bring with them.
You always knew Chelsea would be a force because they went for the best.
Chelsea’s appointment of former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel does not fill me with confidence
The German has a big task to compete with likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp for prizes
True, it did not always work. But there was always that feeling it would click and the number of trophies they have won in the last 18 years has been incredible.
Had I been in a dressing room this week and saw news break of Thomas Tuchel’s appointment, I would not have had the same sense of anxiety.
Chelsea have appointed Tuchel because they want to win the Premier League and Champions League again. I struggle to see that happening with him.
What have Chelsea seen in Tuchel that convinces them he will outwit Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp over the course of a 38-game season?
I’m glad he was realistic in his opening press conference to say they had no chance of winning the title this year but why should that change in 2022?
First impressions are very important in football and the one Tuchel made on Wednesday with his team selection against Wolves could not be called positive.
I know he has explained at great length why it was unfair not to pick Mason Mount and Reece James, and pointed out he wanted experience.
Tuchel’s first game was hardly inspiring, with a number of baffling selection decisions
Mason Mount (L), arguably Chelsea’s best player, was dropped while Reece James was left out
This feels like a bit of a cop out. It would suggest the first thing Tuchel knew about Chelsea’s interest in him came after Frank Lampard had been sacked, but it is a nonsense to think he had not watched any of the club’s recent games.
What Tuchel did by not including Mount and James — and let’s not forget Tammy Abraham, who had scored a hat-trick against Luton on Sunday — has put the thought in some people’s minds that Chelsea are going to abandon the faith they had recently shown in young players.
If you are left out of a team because you haven’t been good enough or someone is better than you, it stings but you can deal with it. When you are left out without real explanation, it is hard to stomach. Whatever Tuchel has said to Mount and James in recent days, they will still feel a sting.
Mount went through a stage at the beginning of the season when he was labelled ‘teacher’s pet’ because Lampard always played him, but I can assure you, having had the privilege of working with Frank, favouritism is not something he ever indulges in.
Chelsea have used youth in recent seasons and I hope Tuchel does not abandon this strategy
I played for England with Frank and was at Manchester City for a short while with him, too. He was 36 when he joined us but he was still the last one to come in from training — he wouldn’t stop until he had scored from every angle in the four-station shooting drill we used to do.
His dedication, application and willingness to work hard are things he would undoubtedly have carried into his new life as a manager. I’m disappointed that it has ended this way for him and I feel sorry for Chelsea’s fans, who had bought into what he was trying to do.
Frank lacked experience and that is what has cost him. It looks like the club did not trust in him to turn the situation around and get Chelsea into the top four by the end of the season. But did he not deserve the chance to at least have a shot at it?
The moment Chelsea sanctioned an outlay of more than £200million last summer, I was worried for him. I don’t believe all of the signings were Frank’s but the results were always going to be on his shoulders. He was basically in a no-win situation.
Lampard may have spent over £200m but I’d like to have seen him see the season through
The Blues lack a real plan and it may be a case of same old story with the new manager
When a club spends that much money, the atmosphere changes. I remember what it was like when City signed Robinho in 2008. All of a sudden you can feel expectation and pressure building.
How you accommodate big signings and juggle it all becomes a problem in itself.
Chelsea have a lot of players who are similar — Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount — and I bet if we all sat down to write our best starting line-up, there would be countless different combinations. That isn’t a good place for a club to be.
It has been pointed out that Chelsea’s possession improved against Wolves and they made more than 800 passes, but stats like that leave me cold. The main statistics in football are how many you score and concede and the onus is on Tuchel to find the right blend.
I’m absolutely not writing Tuchel off, but something about his appointment doesn’t feel right. If you look at Klopp, for example, you could see Liverpool had a plan and were ready to see it through.
If Tuchel’s plan for Chelsea doesn’t work, it will be the same old story and another one will bite the dust.
MICAH’S MATCH OF THE WEEK
Arsenal against Manchester United might not have the same pull as it did when I was a kid but this latest meeting is hugely significant for both teams.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side suffered an unexpected loss against Sheffield United on Wednesday and, if they are going to be regarded as genuine title contenders, they have to shake that off immediately and win.
This is the time to show they have the character for the fight. Doing that is easier said than done, however. Arsenal went through a sticky period recently but I said at the start of the season that nobody is laughing at them any more.
It may not have the same pull as many years ago but Arsenal v Man United always excites
Mikel Arteta’s (left) side have come through a sticky period and will pose problems to United
I love how fearless young players such as Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka have turned the tide.
Both clubs are trying to get back to where they believe they belong and it goes to show how tight the table is that an Arsenal win would put them just seven points behind United. I am intrigued to see how it goes. My instinct is that it will be a draw.
TOP MARKS TO MY TEACHER
It’s been an emotional week and I have been overwhelmed by the response to my documentary on Sky about tackling racism.
I never wanted to preach about what has been wrong, it’s always been my wish to help make change through education.
Steps are being made but, unfortunately, we saw in midweek there is a long way to go after dreadful abuse on social media aimed at Manchester United’s Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial.
It has been an emotional week with the airing of my documentary on Sky on tackling racism
Disgusting racist abuse against Manchester United stars Axel Tuanzebe (L) and Anthony Martial (R) this week shows we still have a long way to go
I have to thank everyone who was involved in the production and I’d like to think there was someone from every walk of life providing an insight. The intention was to make people think and hopefully the stories helped to do that.
But I cannot let this column pass without referring to the star of the show: David Moore. He was my teacher at what is now Allerton C of E Primary. He is a man with an open mind, who is selfless and committed to helping children whatever their background.
Without him — he used to take me to football trials — I’m not sure my life would have turned out as it has done.