Thomas Tuchel, the manager sacked by Chelsea this week and replaced by Graham Potter, said he is “devastated that my time at Chelsea has come to an end”.
Writing on his social media accounts, the German, 49, said: “This is one of the most difficult statements I have ever had to write – and it is one which I hoped I would not need to do for many years.”
The club’s chairman-owner, Todd Boehly, removed Tuchel of his position on Wednesday following Tuesday’s Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb. By Friday, Potter, the Brighton manager, had been installed in Tuchel’s place, his new club reported to have paid £21m in compensation for his services. The suggestion from within Chelsea has been that Tuchel’s departure was decided before the trip to Croatia, despite Boehly rubber-stamping over £250m of transfer business in the summer.
Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in the January of the 2020-21 season and then led Chelsea, then owned by Roman Abramovich, to winning the Champions League final that May. “The pride and joy I felt at helping the team to win the Champions League and the Club World Cup will stay with me forever,” read Tuchel’s statement. “I am honoured to have been a part of this club’s history and the memories of the last 19 months will always have a special place in my heart.”
Ahead of 21 August’s defeat to Leeds, Tuchel had expressed his satisfaction with life at the club, and said he was hopeful of signing a new contract. “My people talk to the owners, and take care of everything else,” he said then. “You know how glad I am to be here and how much I like it.”
On Sunday, he said: “This is a club where I felt at home, both professionally and personally. Thank you so much to all the staff, the players and the supporters for making me feel very welcome from the start.”