The manager of Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel has admitted that the criticism of the club over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is distracting the club.
Recall that on Thursday, February 24, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to invade Ukraine which they did by first firing missiles into some major cities of the country.
Since the attacks, there have been a series of reactions across the world against the Russian government. In the same vein, businesses owned or influenced by Putin outside Russia have been suffering from the backlash.
Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea has been banned from living in the United Kingdom due to his close ties with President Putin. Not only that, UK’s Members of Parliament are reportedly considering seizing everything the Russian billionaire has in the country including Chelsea.
Ahead of the Carabao Cup game against Liverpool scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 27, at 17:30, coach Thomas Tuchel admitted that the crisis between Russia and Ukraine is an issue that can not be ignored.
He however noted that the criticism Chelsea have been subjected to since the crisis broke out has become a source of worry, adding that the crisis has brought about a series of uncertainties to the club.
Coach Thomas Tuchel said: “We shouldn’t pretend this is not an issue. The situation for everyone here is horrible. Nobody expected this, it’s pretty unreal. It’s clouding our minds and our excitement towards the final. It brings huge uncertainty, much more to all people at the moment more involved than us. We send our best wishes and regards to them, obviously.
“Still there are so many uncertainties around the situation of our club, in the UK with scenarios like this, that it makes no sense if I comment on it. We’re aware of it, we haven’t got so much insight or inside information as you might think, and in the very end, I think it’s also the right from the team and staff to be not political, to focus on sports. Not because we are hiding, but the situation is clear, it’s horrible, no doubt about it.
“I’d love to take my right not to comment on it until there is a decision made. It’s distracting us, it’s worrying us, to a certain degree I can understand it, I can understand the critical opinions towards the club and us who represent it. We cannot fully free ourselves from it.
“But maybe people can understand me as the coach, and players as players, we don’t have the insight what is going on and how much the owner is involved in all this – we don’t feel responsible for what’s going on, it’s horrible and there can’t be a doubt about it, the war in Europe is unthinkable for me for a long period.
“Let’s wait, the impact is clear, and the discussions have an impact, but let’s be a bit more patient and understand what the measurements will be, and then maybe we’ll deal with it…
“The situation is too big [to shut out]. It’s not an isolated situation, it concerns Europe, we’re a part of Europe, we cannot say let’s put it to the side. It’s the opposite, we have to live with it right now, there is no running away from it.
“We’re privileged to live in peace and freedom where we are right now and to have a game of football in an emotional but peaceful environment with fans in the stadium. It’s a hardcore reality check of how privileged we are, I don’t think it will go away that my mind is clouded and I don’t think it will go away for anybody, because it’s too big.”
Thomas Tuchel believes there is too much focus on Romelu Lukaku
The manager of Chelsea football club, Thomas Tuchel has admitted that there is too much focus on Romelu Lukaku which is not fair to the player. He stressed that Lukaku is not the only player who has lost form at the club.
The German coach went as far as comparing the form of the Belgian striker to the form of the club’s assistant captain, Jorginho who has not been playing regularly in recent times due to mental tiredness.
Recall that ahead of the 2021-2022 season, Chelsea paid a whopping €113 million including addons to Inter Milan to bring back Lukaku to the club. He showed a lot of promise at the club in his first few games.
Lukaku’s form has nosedive after he suffered a sprain. So far this season, the Belgian has managed to score 10 goals in 28 games in all competitions.
“I know he is an important player,” coach Thomas Tuchel ahead of the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday. “If you pay a lot of money these days for one single player, there’s a lot of focus on the player.
“If you allow yourself to zoom a little bit out, he played a lot of matches from the start for us, consecutive matches…
“We have, maybe a little bit, the same situation for example with Jorginho, who is one of our captains and did not play from the beginning lately because we feel he is a little mentally tired.
“But the focus is hugely on Romelu which I can understand. But the situation is more or less the same as for Jorginho and that sometimes is not fair and sometimes it’s a bit too much. Both of them understand themselves as team players…
“The things inside (the club) are very clear and the decisions are made clear. The players accept (them) and once you play for Chelsea, you accept that the team goes first. That is why there are no hard feelings, not from Romelu, not from me, and not from anybody else.”
🗣 "I trust my players and their focus, on the other hand what choice is there? There's no transfer period right now."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 25, 2022
Thomas Tuchel says he didn't see the headlines in Italy linking Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan, which Lukaku's representatives denied pic.twitter.com/aavYqj3cqB
🗣 "If you pay a lot of money these days for one single player, there is a lot of focus on the player."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 25, 2022
Thomas Tuchel says the team comes first when it comes to team selection when asked about Romelu Lukaku being benched against Lille pic.twitter.com/LZNyyCruRA
Tuchel admits Kepa deserves to start against Liverpool on Sunday
Ahead of the Carabao Cup final match between Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday, the argument has been who will coach Thomas Tuchel start between the club’s favorite goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Recall that Kepa has been the man between the sticks in all the stages of the Carabao Cup this season including the semi-finals 2-legged games against Tottenham Hotspur which Chelsea won with ease.
But that might not guarantee the Spanish goalkeeper to start in the final as coach Tuchel insisted that he would not select a goalkeeper based on sentiment. He however added that Kepa deserves to start ahead of Mendy.
“This is very easy to say: Kepa absolutely deserves to play and I also cannot get sentimental about it,” coach Tuchel ahead of the Carabao Cup final game against Liverpool on Sunday.
“I have to do what in the end is in my opinion the very best solution for the team.
“I know that this position is very sensitive. If Kepa was a player in the other 10 positions we would not have these discussions, we would just be full of praise, and he would feel that praise in minutes on the pitch.
“So now he is in this one position where you don’t make a lot of changes.
“But still he would absolutely deserve it and at the same time, I will not be sentimental about the position…
“We will take the decision late; because there’s a reason why people ask who will start.
“In the last competition it was very short, Kepa played in the Club World Cup, Kepa played the semi-final and got us to the final.
“And then we took the decision for Edou coming back from the Africa Cup of Nations, and then it’s a pretty similar situation now.
“So this will be the very last decision we will take after training, like always.
“Because there’s no need to take the decision now when we have one more training ahead.
“Kepa did fantastic in the period where we had to be without Edou, and so it’s an uncomfortable and very comfortable situation at the same time.”