EPL

'It wasn't a punishment' – Tuchel defends calling in Chelsea stars for Sunday training

By Sports Desk May 10, 2022

Thomas Tuchel has denied he was punishing his Chelsea stars when he called them in for training on their planned Sunday off.

There have been reports of unrest in the Chelsea dressing room, and a 2-2 draw with Wolves on Saturday was a sickener for the Blues after they led 2-0 heading into the final 12 minutes.

Chelsea face Leeds United in the Premier League on Wednesday, before tackling Liverpool in the FA Cup final on Sunday.

It is a huge week for the club, and Tuchel decided they should forfeit a day off for the sake of squad togetherness.

Head coach Tuchel said: "We came in. We planned a free day, but after the disappointment it was not even to punish them.

"Maybe some felt like it was a punishment, but it wasn't, because it was not the moment for a free day. I explained that it's better to be together and talk about it than to go [away] and everyone has his own opinion and everybody has his own truth, and you have maybe more risks to be in fragments than to be here."

He said Chelsea took part in "very light" training, and "spent time together discussing things how we wanted to approach the next days".

Tuchel says his job is becoming more demanding by the day as the club's ownership saga plays out.

Chelsea have agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion.

The Boehly-led consortium promises investment of £1.75bn into the club and is expected to be completed later this month, but for now Tuchel has his hands tied.

He can make plans for the transfer window and next season but cannot act on them, while the transition of ownership from Roman Abramovich to the new group runs its course.

Tuchel said the deal could "inject some positive energy", but he has yet to speak to Boehly and said the current circumstances are "quite challenging".

Asked if the sale process had been unsettling, Tuchel said: "It has, for sure. There's no sense in hiding from the fact it is a distraction.

"The players want to feel competitive; they want to know what's going on next season. A player like Toni [Antonio Rudiger] decided then to change the club. Every day it gets a bit more difficult. It had an influence and still we are looking to reach the level where we are competitive and can win games.

"It's no excuse, but it is a reason."

With oligarch Abramovich sanctioned by the UK government over alleged close links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, which Abramovich denies, there will be many relieved when the new owners get their deal across the line.

"At the moment it's a positive sign," Tuchel said. "It feels like it will come to an end and give us possibilities to act, but at the moment it's not like this."

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