Inside Tuchel’s Chelsea sacking: ‘Silent’ flight, Cucurella deal and Nagelsmann interest

By | September 8, 2022

Chelsea have parted company with Thomas Tuchel just a month into the new season and look set to appoint Graham Potter as his replacement – but how did it come to this?

Join David Ornstein, Simon Johnson and Adam Leventhal as they explain the decision making from the last few days.

Listen to the rest of the show and The Athletic Football Podcast five times a week this season…

Subscribe to The Athletic UK channel 👉 | 🔔Make sure to enable all push notifications!🔔

The Athletic is currently offering a special price subscription of £1/$1 a month for the first six months. To redeem that limited-time-only offer go to 👉

00:00 Tuchel's sacking
10:04 Why Potter?

Follow The Athletic UK:
Website 👉
Twitter 👉
Instagram 👉
Facebook 👉

Follow Tifo Football:
Website 👉
Twitter 👉
Facebook 👉
Instagram 👉
Subscribe to Tifo Football 👉

#tuchel #cfc #theathletic

I wanted to start by the the picture That is painted in the piece like you Traveling back from zagreb on the plane On the coach the front rows of seats Containing the head coach thomas tuckel His staff the co-owners there as well And the players Filing awkwardly past and knowing that The atmosphere you could cut with a Knife i think one source in the piece Said it was it was so silent up there The writing was obviously on the wall After the defeat against zagreb but this Has been coming for for quite some time Hasn't it simon Yeah i mean The the only hesitation in the back of Your mind you've been hearing rumblings For for quite a while and we actually Wrote as part of tucker's anniversary Read all the way back in january That Essentially Pretty much all the attacking players Weren't happy or there were a lot of Attacking players that weren't happy and Were looking to leave That's not that's not clearly not a good Sign and things haven't improved since Then of course a couple of attacking Those attacking players have left in Lukaku and verna but getting back to the Events tuesday night i was opposite The dressing room door it's always a

Clap you know the mix zone sometimes you Sort of think what's the point in going There on a night like that That's even if you know no one's going To stop it in the back you just know There's no point going there because no One's going to talk to you but it it's What you see that can sometimes paint The story better than words can And The the way that the players sort of Drifted out one by one Face that you don't expect them to be Singing and dancing after a defeat like That but and the coaching staff and then Two cool comes out i i sat in on his Press conference Where he again was struggling to come up With answers of how to fix these Problems And he just looked a very isolated Man he wasn't with his coaching staff he Wasn't with his closest confidence in That camp and Whilst i'm not going to pretend i didn't Sort of see the announcement coming Um as in uh on wednesday morning um Because i thought he's done enough to Earn a bit more time It didn't shock me That it had come to pass this soon David from your point of view you've Obviously been following the story all The way you know we were last speaking

To each other on deadline day new Signings had come in One in particular in pierre-emerick Aubameyang very much someone who was Connected with thomas tucker in the past That borisia dortmund From the outside looking in for people That you know aren't inside that that Chelsea bubble it might look ruthless it Might look knee-jerk but but this Politically the the struggle between Tuckel and bali and other members of the Of the hierarchy at chelsea which has Seen so much change Has been strained for quite some time Hasn't it yeah it has and i don't think We should um Be too Kind of sensationalist about this it was Never going to be an easy relationship Thomas tuchel carried the weight of Chelsea on his shoulders through that Takeover process of course chelsea were Operating under sanctions um and he was The kind of Man holding it all together um from a Public perspective but also internally With players and staff trying to win Matches qualify for this season's Champions league um and then they go Into the changeover from Abramovic to boli clear lake Then comes a transfer window with an Ownership who let's face it have not got

Any experience prior of Football Soccer english football premier league And so they were kind of learning on the Job and the most experienced person in All of that operation was thomas tuchel When you read the big piece that's gone Up on the athletic today there is a lot More detail and minou shy and nuance Around things that have happened behind The scenes things that have happened in The squad in conversations in all manner Of areas but the bottom line in all of This as you asked me from an outsider's Perspective is that thomas tuchel was Just not the man for these guys and they Learned it over the course of their Ownership uh however short that spell Has been so far they did back him and The club in the transfer market it's not Like they're just buying for him they Did want to deliver a striker And there was great support um as well As some reservation around Pierre-emerick aubameyang but there Weren't many options and they were Trying to work together but ultimately Um i guess although the decision was Already taken before the Dinamo zagreb champions league defeat um It was probably confirmation on the Reservations that they had and that's Why the flight home was so quiet they Knew what they were going to have to

Deliver on wednesday morning um it was From what we hear short and sharp Unexpected to thomas tuchel and already They are Getting on with the appointment of their Uh new head coach Yeah we'll dig into you know graeme Potter's as we expect imminent arrival At stanford bridge a little bit later on But i just wanted to pick up on that Point there that david made with with Simon about it maybe feeling unexpected For for thomas tuckel he will have known That they will have been reviewing the Situation as a whole at the football Club he he just reached the milestone of Of a hundred games it was almost you Know 100 days into into this new Ownership uh regime Do you think he would have been Within his rights to expect them to Continue with him from what he was being Told during that period of time or would If he seen it coming as well because There seemed to be a suggestion that Perhaps he was thinking right we've got The transfer window out of the way now We can really sit down and talk about More of a vision and maybe i am the guy That you can stick with is that is that Fair or do you think that it was just a Complete mismatch all the way along I think for starters Thomas tucker was

Delighted When the transfer window's shut and i Think he was thinking great I can now go back to my day job yeah Because he's been Just as he i i was on pre-season tour Out in america and did the sit it was Part of a sit-down interview with a Group of journalists where he came out And spoke about Suddenly being asked to do this other Job which A lot of managers i have to say would Love you know oh do you want to sign This guy she will sign it especially I bet there's a lot of ex chelsea Managers not saying that they were never Consulted but He he was he was in a position where Perhaps other chelsea managers hadn't Been that he could actually really have A strong really really strong say on Recruitment but he didn't enjoy it he Didn't like the distraction That this provided for him that he he Wanted to be the coach on the training Pitch and trying to fix his problem so When the transfer window shut i think he Was thinking right i can now Now that now that i've got my squad i Can actually sit there and mold it but i I I do find it hard to believe that he Didn't see

It coming completely That that he wasn't blind that he was Blind to the fact there was an issue Between him and The ball i mean some of the things i'm Told he wasn't happy either let's get This right it's not like All the owners have decided thomas too Calls i don't think thomas tucker was Particularly inaudible about some of the Things that were going on either yeah um I i just find it all all very sad Um because thomas was a successful Manager for chelsea His style of play Wasn't perhaps the most pleasing on the Eye and particularly since You could sort of almost date it back to The moment ben chilwell were injured Last november that chelsea haven't Played an ex a consistently exciting Brand of football since then and whilst There were mitigating circumstances in That results and performances have been Particularly disappointing since april It's not like chelsea have started the Season all they're playing badly uh Where's this come from they actually Ended last season badly so again I think if you're the new owners and Touching on david's point about Examining the first hundred days i think They have actually also examined Going back to the whole calendar year

And are seeing a downward trend in Performances and results and thinking Well as as good a manager as he's been And i think there's a genuine desire When they arrived and took over the club To make thomas tucker the long-term guy But as Time developed and that's Why you heard stuff about contracts and So on but Or it kind of got overblown in that new Contract or i i i was informed and David may concur that That was quite quite a while ago to talk About extension talks etc that that went That went very cold And that gave an indication of suddenly That the new owners actually thought As david intimated is he the right guy For the long term they want a guy a bit Like how they have in situ at the la Dodgers that's going to be there for Several years Bringing these players through including The young players and i think that's a Really key point i don't think that they Saw a guy in thomas tucker that was Prepared to play young players that he Didn't trust them enough and that he was Always going to go for the experience Well let's talk about the the man who is Set to come in and that is graham potter Simon from your point of view And the information that you have at

This very point as we record on on Thursday morning and it is a developing Situation Where are we at with this how close is It and and what has happened since that Flight home from from zagreb and that Meeting with took along on wednesday Because it's gathered pace very quickly Hasn't it Yeah and and you know dave is on top of The story of course as always um on on Tuesday too uh wednesday rather i don't Know what day it is [Laughter] But But yeah so So they they Clearly graham potter their of their big Admirers off before they made the Decision you're not going to make A seismic decision like this without Having sort of targets in mind um and That's why it emerged very quickly uh on Wednesday that graham potter was first Choice richard pochettino was number two And i had there were two other names um As well um one of the other names i Heard was julian naversman quite Interesting enough but A meeting was was quickly it was very Clear quite early on that brighton i Think that was key brighton was sort of Gay permission And for chelsea to speak to graham

Potter that's a sign that there's a Great relationship between the two clubs Um And in the read actually we we talk About how When the the ownership were talking About cookerella That there are very much knew everything About graham potter the way he likes to Play football Um his coaching methods etc etc which i Think is is is very significant that That he was already on their radar as Someone that they they clearly Appreciated Um there were talks uh very positive Talk so i was told Um on wednesday as we're recording this There are multiple reports emerging that Chelsea have reached a verbal agreement With graeme potter now to take over as Head coach and that would fit the Timeline um that we reported immediately After chelsea released their official Statement yesterday in that they Hoped to get their new head coach in By the weekend's match against fulham in The early kickoff so they weren't Hanging about um and they would put you Know existing coaches in interim charge For a couple of days Normally with clubs they say you know We'll put a coaching structure in place Until further notice but chelsea were

Clear um and of course in the case of Potter they knew his release clause and It seems some groundwork has gone into This and It's wrong of us to suggest that Conversations took place in the Background uh for a period of time Because we don't know that but what i Mean is You know if you read the uh in-depth Piece um on the athletic today it Explains some you know in-depth Knowledge that todd bowley had about Graeme potter during the negotiations um With the representatives of mark Cookarella and it seemed that Potter was somebody that had caught the Eye of the ownership at chelsea um and They had spoken glowingly of him i had Heard that in conversations you know People who have spent time with todd Bowley and badadek bali had said that They Had been very impressed by gran potter And then You know there have been dealings Between chelsea and brighton for quite Some weeks now um there was the uh Famous dinner that we reported that took Place after uh premier league Shareholders meeting over the summer That was hosted by todd bowie in which He invited Representatives of all of the other 20

Uh sorry 19 premier league clubs um to Dine with him and it later emerged that It was at that dinner where he started Discussing um the potential transfer of Kanye chukwumeka from aston villa to Chelsea with aston villa's chief Executive christian purslow and also the Um cucarella transfer the ball started Rolling there when he was discussing uh That possibility with brighton officials Um So That sort of That sort of Environment that chelsea had created has Has led them to this point or chelsea's Ownership had created led them to this Point where they've Seemingly been able able to take very Swift and decisive action um to bring in A man who um simon describes to you There