Reputation tainted, their financial assets frozen, yet Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are still red hot. Their 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup quarterfinals was an incredible demonstration of the Champions League holders’ laser like focus and their outstanding professionalism.
It was not men against boys, it was men against robots for Chris Wilder’s side. Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech secured Chelsea’s sixth consecutive victory in all competitions and their fourth since Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.
Even the stupidity of the unknown board member who inexplicably requested the match to be played behind closed doors did not throw the focus off Tuchel’s side. They were booed upon their arrival at the ground and continuously jeered and whistled inside the stadium.
Most teams have seen entire seasons derail from far less than the challenges Tuchel has faces. The difference is, most teams do not have a manager like Tuchel in their dugout.
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Despite the circumstances, the Blues are still competing on three fronts, having already reached the League Cup Final, and won the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup. Progression past Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Champions League would surely make Tuchel’s side huge contenders to retain their European crown.
There is plenty left for Tuchel to achieve and if recent weeks have proved anything, then matters off the pitch will not come close to hampering the Blues’ preparations. Should Chelsea keep up this form by the time the team are eventually sold, then it would be a remarkable achievement from Tuchel and his side.
Providing the sands of time do not expire before their expirations, the togetherness, resilience, and most importantly, the results garnered over the last few weeks, present the most compelling pitch to Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, and Cesar Azpilicueta. If Tuchel can produce such terrifying consistency with the current crop of players, amidst the uncertain and poisonous backdrop of recent weeks, then what could he achieve when the Blues’ situation normalises?
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It is a thought which should prompt Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Rudiger to ensure they are always carrying a pen, so they can sign a new contract as soon as the first opportunity presents itself. Even if the Chelsea trio do depart the club, he could be well positioned to continue his outstanding development of Trevoh Chalobah, before moving onto forgotten Chelsea prospect Ethan Ampadu.
Every player in Europe would likely relish the opportunity to play under Tuchel, as his mere presence almost promises success. Whatever happens in the coming weeks, Chelsea need to fight tooth and nail to keep the German at Stamford Bridge – if they maintain his services, then the new ownership could soon experience the same levels of success as Abramovich.