The German coach has had a successful five months at Chelsea finishing in the Premier League top-four and going to play in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Thomas Tuchel who took charge of Chelsea in January when they were languishing at the 9th spot in the Premier League has successfully turned thing’s around. He guided the Blues to a top-four finish in the Premier League and the final of FA Cup, where they lost to Leicester and the Champions League. The German coach sounds like he is happy at Stamford bridge which normally isn’t the most comfortable of places for managers.
“I love it when other people are happy,” Thomas Tuchel said, imagining the after-party if Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday night.
“It means more to me around Christmas that I have good presents for others. It’s very hard to give me a gift. Maybe I’m not the guy to dance on the table, but I will be so super-happy if we win and I see my team, my staff, the families, and when I feel what it means to my family. This is huge for me.”
The 47-year-old coach will be in his second consecutive Champions League final on Saturday when Manchester City play Chelsea at Porto. He took PSG to its maiden final in the last edition where the French team lost to Bayern Munich. Tuchel appears to be quite relaxed and in a joyful mood ahead of the final.
The former Mainz manager was offered only an 18-month-deal when he arrived at Chelsea. It seems like the German coach hasn’t put a foot wrong in the last five months. He has comfortably created a united and tactically cohesive team.
“I like a lot that the players here don’t go by instinct into the same groups,” Chelsea’s manager said. “They mix and I’m very happy that I don’t have to do it. I told them after two or three days here: ‘I like this a lot and don’t change it.”
“This is very easy,” he said. “I’m so happy to be here. I never felt so good since I was in Mainz [he left in 2014] and this feels like the perfect place and the perfect moment for the perfect place. Whatever will come will come. We cannot force things, but this is my point of view.”
“It’s good if they laugh about me,” he said. “We should not take ourselves too seriously. I feel respect if they don’t laugh about me in a disrespectful way. We laugh about each other and I need to laugh about myself. There is no funnier place than a dressing room. There is no funnier place on earth. It’s impossible.
“If they sometimes think the coach is crazy, good. If they sometimes are even a little bit in fear, good, even better. A little bit of fear is always good. And if we can laugh it out and if they are not scared to express their feelings, then it’s the way. We are all a little bit crazy.”
The German will have a tough task in hand against probably one of the greatest football manager of all time, Pep Guardiola. Meanwhile his side has got the better of City in the last two meetings.
“It is always difficult to face Man City, Bayern or Barcelona when Pep is on the sideline,” he says. “Maybe they are the strongest team in Europe and maybe the world and they have built a huge gap between them and us in the league but we closed the gap for 90 minutes [in winning at City this month]. At Wembley [in the FA Cup], we closed the gap again for 90 minutes and that’s what we want to do again.”
“Maybe we are slight underdogs but that changes nothing,” Tuchel says. “I want to encourage them to be brave, stay active, defend and attack with aggression.”
“Normally during the season, I drink no alcohol,” he said. “A glass of gin and tonic maybe but it’s almost zero.”
“We will have fun,” he promises.