Tuchel and Chelsea's successful 'removal culture'

Champions League 2020 – 2021

Five of the London team’s seven European finals, including the three in the Champions League, came after a manager change mid-season. The German is the first to play two consecutive finals with two different teams

Tuchel celebrates Chelsea’s qualification this Wednesday.GLYN KIRKAFP

Last year, final with PSG. This year, final for Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel He is the man of the moment in European football for achieving what no one has ever achieved in all of history: playing two consecutive Champions League finals with two different teams. But there is another seemingly surprising factor in the German coach: that he led a team he started to manage mid-season to the final. Something that, however, is not only not unusual (Zidane He also did it with Madrid five years ago), but at Chelsea it has become almost an unwritten norm. Gullit, Grant, Matteo’s Y Bentez They did it before him.

Counting the one to play on the 29th in Istanbul, Chelsea has reached seven European finals in its history, five of them successful: three in the Champions League (at the moment it has only won one), two in the defunct Recopa and another two in the Europa League. . Only two of them were directed from the bench by the same coach who had started the season. Did Dave Sexton in the 1971 Recopa and Maurizio Sarri in the 2019 Europa League. They both got the trophy.

Ruud Gullit He was the coach of the ‘blues’ at the beginning of the 1997-98 season, as well as being a footballer for the team. Chelsea were second in the Premier when the club decided on their dismissal, a surprising move motivated by their lack of understanding to extend their contract. Gianluca Vialli He was appointed as the team’s new player-coach. He assumed the position with the team in the quarterfinals of the Recopa and ended up proclaiming champion defeating Stuttgart in the final, in which he also played the 90 minutes.

A European Only Success

The later precedent arrives already in the ‘era Abramovich‘, in the 2007-08 season. The first stage of Jos Mourinho on the bench at Stamford Bridge he ended abruptly in September. The appointment of Avram Grant As sports director, he had been one of the last sources of friction between ‘Mou’ and the board, and it ended up being Israel himself who took over from the bench. That season ended with the famous penalty missed by Terry that led to Manchester United’s triumph in the Champions League final.

Four years later, history repeated itself, although with a different outcome. In the summer of 2011, Abramovich had paid 15 million euros to Porto to entrust his new project to the youngster. Andr Vilas-Boas, seeking to repeat Mourinho’s success. In March, with the team fifth in the Premier and after having lost 3-1 to Naples in the eighth of the Champions League, the Portuguese was replaced by Roberto di Matteo, a club legend as a player but without experience on the big benches. The Italian achieved one of the most unlikely Champions ever, defeating Guardiola’s Bara in the semifinals and Bayern in the final, which was played in Munich. Penalties, this time, did smile at Chelsea.

Di Matteo was renewed, of course, but poor results removed him from office in November. Rafa Bentez was named “interim manager” until the end of that season. Lifting the Europa League 2012-13, beating Benfica in the final, did not serve for Chelsea to renew the Spanish coach. In his place, Mourinho was again the chosen one, managing to win the next Premier. Chelsea, by the way, never won a league title after changing managers. The success of his ‘impeachment culture’, it seems, only affects the European finals.


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