sport news Thomas Tuchel's first year as Chelsea boss has seen plenty of highs and lows

sport news Thomas Tuchel's first year as Chelsea boss has seen plenty of highs and lows
sport news Thomas Tuchel's first year as Chelsea boss has seen plenty of highs and lows

Chelsea had 78.9 per cent possession and completed 820 passes but couldn't put the ball in the Wolves net.

On the touchline of an empty Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel was a blur of movement, throwing his arms in the air in exasperation as another painstakingly crafted move broke down.

His first game as Chelsea manager, against an opponent winless in six league games and low on confidence, ended goalless and few fans were immediately convinced.

It's exactly one year since Thomas Tuchel was appointed Chelsea manager, the day after Frank Lampard was fired, and had a socially distanced unveiling with Marina Granovskaia

It's exactly one year since Thomas Tuchel was appointed Chelsea manager, the day after Frank Lampard was fired, and had a socially distanced unveiling with Marina Granovskaia 

Tuchel was an animated touchline presence as he took charge of his first game a day later

Tuchel was an animated touchline presence as he took charge of his first game a day later

But Chelsea were left frustrated as they dominated but failed to score against Wolves

But Chelsea were left frustrated as they dominated but failed to score against Wolves 

Not that it was Tuchel's fault he'd replaced a club legend in Frank Lampard. 

In fact, in discussions with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia about taking the job, the German questioned whether the club really wanted to dispense with such a popular figure only to be told the decision was made.

Nor was he Chelsea's first choice. They wanted Ralf Rangnick to come in on a four-month interim basis but Tuchel's compatriot turned them down because he felt it wasn't enough time to make any meaningful difference.

And having just been fired on Christmas Eve by Paris Saint-Germain, following a bitter falling out with the club's hierarchy over transfer policy, did he really want to join a club where managers in the past have felt the heavy weight of Roman Abramovich's influence?

In the end, he did and a year on from his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel will reflect on incredible high points and a good few frustrations. 

But, on balance, he has proved absolutely the right appointment and job has been the right one for him.

The season ended on a high with Tuchel delivering Chelsea the Champions League trophy

The season ended on a high with Tuchel delivering Chelsea the Champions League trophy

The German cracks open the champagne in the dressing room after the win over Man City

The German cracks open the champagne in the dressing room after the win over Man City

Tuchel's record 

Matches 67

Wins 40 Draws 18 Defeats 9

Goals scored 112

Goals conceded 42

Win percentage 59.70

Champions League winners 2020-21

UEFA Super Cup winners 2021

FA Cup runners-up 2020-21

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When Chelsea beat Manchester City to win the Champions League for the second time last May, just four months after Tuchel came in, they looked strongly-placed to surge past both City and Liverpool domestically.

Things haven't quite worked out like that. 

Chelsea are an effective cup team - they won the UEFA Super Cup in August, are into the Carabao Cup final and will probably be crowned world champions in Abu Dhabi next month. 

The FA Cup and the Champions League remain up for grabs this season and you'd expect them to be in the conversation.

But the current 10-point gap to leaders City in the Premier League really does resemble a chasm. 

Tuchel would point to plenty of mitigating factors but his team have not been able to use that Porto triumph as a springboard to end a five-year wait for league success.

They've won just three of their last 10 league games - the same underwhelming record that proved fatal for Lampard 12 months ago - and Tuchel won't be disappointed to look at the fixture list and not see another league game until February 19.

Progress in cup competitions has been balanced against a real slog in the league, the situation made worse by injuries, Covid and squad fatigue caused by the relentless fixture list that goes hand-in-hand with English football.

Yet there's no question of Tuchel being axed as Lampard was. His relationship with Abramovich, who rewarded that European win by extending his initial 18-month contract by a further two years, is sound; likewise with Granovskaia and his technical advisor Petr Cech.

Chelsea backed up their Champions League win by winning the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast

Chelsea backed up their Champions League win by winning the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast

But there was agony at Wembley in the FA Cup final as Chelsea were beaten by Leicester City

But there was agony at Wembley in the FA Cup final as Chelsea were beaten by Leicester City

Tuchel has been pleasantly surprised by the support structure Chelsea put in place for him, a stark contrast to PSG where his relationship with director of football Leonardo deteriorated into a public war of words over signings.

And having dealt with the egos of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at the Parc des Princes, player management has been for the most part easier at Chelsea.

Tuchel also likes London but is recognised far more in public than in Paris, where apparently nobody ever realised who he was. 

On a day off in October, Tuchel took his two daughters for a day out and sat on a carousel with his baseball cap pulled down, a mask on and collar up, trying not to be seen.

He won immediate favour with the broader Chelsea squad by giving everyone a clean slate and this meant players who'd been frozen out by Lampard such as Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and Jorginho instantly warmed to him.

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