Chelsea sack Tuchel after stuttering start to season

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Chelsea have sacked boss Thomas Tuchel following last night’s 1-0 Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

The club’s new owners have opted to make a change at the top after a stuttering start to the season at Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel, 49, succeeded Frank Lampard in January 2021 and went on to guide the Blues to Champions League glory, before winning the European Super Cup and Club World Cup last term.

But his time in charge has been cut short following an indifferent start to the campaign, which has left the Londoners with 10 points from six Premier League games.

An official statement said: “On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, the club would like to place on record its gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the club.

“Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea’s history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here.

“As the new ownership group reaches 100 days since taking over the club, and as it continues its hard work to take the club forward, the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.

“Chelsea’s coaching staff will take charge of the team for training and the preparation of our upcoming matches as the club moves swiftly to appoint a new head coach.”

Tuchel was heavily backed in the transfer market this summer, with more than £200million spent on the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana.

But performances failed to live up to expectations as Chelsea lost at Leeds and Southampton, while barely sneaking past 10-man Leicester and West Ham at home in recent weeks.

The pressure was clearly building on the German last night following the defeat in Croatia.

He said: “It’s an underperformance from us. We have the same story as always.

“We have an OK start, we don’t finish our half-chances, we don’t feel it when the game is already there to put to bed in the first 15-20 minutes.

“Then we concede one counter-attack, which is far too easy, and from there we struggled.”

Asked how many players were at the top of their game, Tuchel added: “Not a lot at the moment.

“I don’t know where this performance comes from. It’s a lack of hunger, intensity, a lack of determination to win duels, to actually do things on the highest level.

“You cannot expect to win games, not in the Premier League or Champions League. We are not where we want to be.”

Chelsea’s next game is a trip to neighbours Fulham on Saturday lunchtime and the club have said no further comment will be made until an appointment is confirmed.

— Ferdinand A. Baah