Thomas Tuchel has cut a sympathetic, straightforward, no-BS figure in his public appearances and interviews since his appointment at Chelsea, but he’s not here to make friends, either with the media or with his players, even.
That’s not to say that all the hugs and smiles are fake or for show, but he’s here to work and to win, and he expects the same sort of professional approach from his players as well. And that includes being able to take (constructive) criticism on board, which is unlikely to be in short supply given Chelsea’s need for improved performances and play.
“Just because I’m trying hard to be kind to you guys [the media], does not mean that I am trying too hard and that everybody loves me in the dressing room because this simply does not exist.
“It is not necessary. But, in a moment where I am happy I can tell them also that I am happy with their attitude, their performance and the atmosphere in the dressing room. There is no harm in that, I don’t hold it back then.”
We saw this philosophy on display after the win against Barnsley midweek, which wasn’t exactly impressive, but Tuchel refrained from any significant or specific criticism of his team in the post-match interviews. Those things are much better left for the dressing room and the training pitch. But even there, Tuchel aims to do things in a constructive manner.
These qualities and methods are certainly not unique to the new Chelsea head coach, but few are able or willing to talk about their methods with such clarity in the media. And if he can get his ideas across this clearly to the masses, he can surely do it with his players as well.
“Player’s won’t get punished, shouted at or insulted in front of a group, this is unacceptable. But if we have to point out things clearly I’m a big friend of doing it in front of the whole group.
“If we have behaviours that harm the group and cause trouble for the team on the pitch, we should tell the players individually, but I believe strongly that everybody has to have the personality to swallow criticism in front of the group.
“That way no harm is done because we can talk openly. To be clear and to be honest, this will never change. I don’t do stuff to be loved by everyone in the dressing room, this is not possible.”
The term expectancy of a football head coach is very short, and that’s especially true at Chelsea. Tuchel will have to be efficient at instituting his methods and his tactics. But he also knows that a singular, repetitive, one-note approach is not the best way to do that, be that when it comes to tactics or man-management.
“Can I be a shouter? Yeah, of course, if it’s absolutely necessary. But I can be totally emotional, and I can also totally be a shouter if I feel this is the minute to do it and to surprise. If you do it all the time then no one would listen because it becomes a habit, so everybody gets used to it.
“The goal is also to stay a little bit unpredictable, and most of the time to be reasonable because, for me, it is important we build a trust and relationship that we can rely on.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Sky
All good words. But the final judgement will be on the results, as always.