“I didn’t expect it. I must have been in the wrong movie.”
Thomas Tuchel said this as he thought about Chelsea’s latest loss away from home, a 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night in the Champions League.
But those could have been the first words out of the head coach’s mouth the next morning when Chelsea’s new owners told him he was fired, just 16 months after he led the team to its second Champions League title.
Just three weeks ago, Tuchel said he was talking to the club about extending his contract. He said, “You know how happy I am to be here and how much I like it.”
But if you look a little closer, the cracks at Stamford Bridge started to show long before the disastrous game in Zagreb. With a weak defense, unhappy forwards, unwanted departures, and changes to the team’s strategy, Todd Boehly and his group marked 100 days in charge by making their most controversial decision to date.
This summer, Chelsea was in the news because they bought 10 new players for a total of £278.4 million, which was more than any other club in Europe.
As interim sporting director, Todd Boehly was mostly in charge of business, but Tuchel was also involved in Chelsea’s deals, especially the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a 33-year-old player who was released by Arsenal less than a year ago.