Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia’s great comments on Thomas Tuchel as trophy returns

Chelsea: Tuchel opens up on 'edge' ahead of UCL final

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When Chelsea hired Thomas Tuchel in January, few expected the German to be lifting the Champions League trophy just five months down the line. It’s been quite a turnaround from the Blues, who beat Manchester City 1-0 in Saturday night’s final. And it’s now worth revisiting comments made by Marina Granovskaia.

Chelsea were a club in crisis in January.

Frank Lampard had overseen a problematic start to the season, with his side looking destined to miss out on a place in the Premier League top four.

But, in just a few months, Tuchel has turned things around.

Chelsea qualified for the Champions League weekend, albeit with a huge slice of luck, finishing third in the table – above Liverpool and Leicester, the latter of which missed out completely.

And, now, Tuchel has brought the Champion League trophy itself back to Stamford Bridge – nine years after the club’s last triumph in the competition.

Credit must go to Chelsea for their ruthless, forward-thinking approach.

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In January, Granovskaia claimed Tuchel was one of the best coaches in Europe – backing him to be a huge hit at the club.

“It is never easy to change Head Coach in the middle of the season,” she said, before paying him a huge compliment.

“But we are very happy to secure one of Europe’s best coaches in Thomas Tuchel.

“There is still much to play for and much to achieve, this season and beyond.

“We welcome Thomas to the Club.”

And the Russian got her words spot on, with Tuchel living up to and surpassing expectations during his time in charge of Chelsea so far.

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The German was a wounded animal after last year’s Champions League heartache, where his Paris Saint-Germain side lost to Bayern Munich in the final.

That defeat raised questions about Tuchel, especially given how he had the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at his disposal.

But Chelsea and Granovskaia always new they were onto a winner with Tuchel, who has now repaid their faith in an extraordinary way.

He has, well and truly, shown he’s one of the best coaches in Europe. Even before the Champions League final, he’d proven many of his critics wrong.

Now, as the trophy returns to west London, the onus will be on inspiring Chelsea to Premier League title glory next season.

Tuchel referred to last year’s heartache when speaking after the victory over City, saying: “We have a strong group who can really defend and defending is a huge part of football,” he said.

“They have a huge energy together and they can deliver under pressure. So this sets the level for us and once the celebrations are over and we have all digested this experience, it’s the moment to grow, to evolve, and to use it to become better.

“A lot of young players had this huge success and now it’s a big challenge to stay hungry and to go for the next one.”

The Chelsea boss also expressed his gratitude at being in a Champions League final for a second time, saying: “I was so grateful to arrive here [in the final] a second time.

“It felt different. I told everybody that before. Somehow we could feel it every day coming closer but we were comfortable.

“We needed a top-level performance and we needed a strong bond just to have a chance to win this match.

“This is what we did and I am very happy to share this moment with this team and with all the staff, with all the guys who support on an everyday basis at Cobham. The team fights for them.

“The effort was huge.

“We overcome some difficult moments and some very dangerous moments with fantastic attitude to defending.

“We had to make an early change with Andreas Christensen coming on for Thiago Silva which did not make the things easier but we were brave. Even in moments where it was hard to escape the pressure we kept the formation and we were constantly active.”

And Tuchel also singled out Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger for praise, too.

“City chose a very offensive and very technical line-up. It was very hard to recover the balls,” he told the club’s official website.

“It was very important that we step out with Azpi and Toni constantly out of the back five to support our midfield, and it was important to stay in a block on the front five.

“We were absolutely sure that we needed to play with a strong bond and with a genuine belief, and this is what we did.

“Minute after minute we could grab some ball possession we could win more and more second balls and initiate some dangerous counter attacks which gave us confidence, and from then on it was a tough match until the end.”

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