Thomas Tuchel Become He First Chelsea Manager To Reach Champions League, FA Cup And League Cup Finals This Week

But what if he cannot win the Premier League? Already 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, anything less than a victory over Pep Guardiola’s team this lunchtime would effectively end Tuchel’s hopes of doing so this season.

Guardiola is on course to win his fourth league title in five seasons at City and his status as one of the club’s greatest managers is secure, but the absence of a Champions League success is a significant gap in the Spaniard’s long list of achievements with the club.

Tuchel took four months to win the Champions League for only the second time in Chelsea’s history, beating Guardiola’s City in Porto, but would he always feel a sense that something important was missing if he did not lift the Premier League title? “Me personally? If we weren’t now sitting in a press conference, I would say ‘yes!’ It would be like ‘argh, we should have, argh’.

“I don’t know if we can do it in the 18 months [of my contract] or whatever, it depends on many factors. But, yes, I have the desire to win the Premier League with Chelsea. A clear yes.”

Tuchel was awarded a two-year contract extension for winning the Champions League, which means, under the terms of his present deal, the German will also have next season to try to win the league title.

Many Chelsea fans would be delighted to see Tuchel handed another extension. But history tells us that Chelsea managers do not traditionally hang around too long under owner Roman Abramovich, so he may already face a race against time to join the list of those to win the Premier League since the Russian billionaire took control.

Jose Mourinho, in two separate spells, Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte are the three managers to have achieved the feat under Abramovich. Other than Tuchel, only Roberto Di Matteo has helped Chelsea become European champions, in the same season in which he also won the FA Cup.

Tuchel has already done enough to be judged a better Chelsea manager than Di Matteo and all of Abramovich’s other managers who failed to win the league – Claudio Ranieri, Avram Grant, who reached a Champions League final, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Andre Villas-Boas, Rafael Benitez, Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard. But he admitted that winning the Champions League owed much to an element of good fortune and momentum, so there will always be a debate over whether Tuchel’s achievements better, or even match, those of Mourinho, Ancelotti and Conte if he does not win the Premier League.

“Both [the Premier League and the Champions League] are very difficult and very different,” Tuchel said. “The Champions League is the toughest tournament in the world, the Premier League is the toughest league. I don’t think you can compare them. And I have the 100 per cent desire to win the Premier League with Chelsea. So we will not hide from the fact this is the goal.”

Just as Abramovich would never want Chelsea to be known as a “cup team”, Tuchel will not seek to be remembered as one of the club’s great “cup managers” – however impressive his historic first year.

 

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