Thomas Tuchel has arrived in the Premier League.
The German has been appointed as the new manager of Chelsea and will be thrown into the fire pit of the English top flight.
After stints at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain before landing at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel has history with plenty of his rivals.
Here’s everything he has had to say about those he will now face off with in the Premier League including Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jurgen Klopp and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Man Utd ‘car crash’
Thomas Tuchel experienced arguably the worst moment of his managerial career at the hands of Manchester United.
PSG were 2-0 up after a win at Old Trafford in the Champions League last-16 back in 2019 but a last-gasp Marcus Rashford penalty snatched a 3-1 win and victory on aggregate for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“I was three days in a dark place. A really dark place like never before because I knew what we worked for,” Tuchel later told Bein Sports . “I knew how hard it was to build this, to reach this point with this team and with the club.
“It was really, really, really a lot of work to achieve that kind of level to beat Liverpool, to win in Belgrade against Red Star, and to go to Manchester United and be the first French team to win there and have this kind of performance and crash out in the second leg, it felt like a car accident, like running through the green lights and get hit from the side.”
He was able to recover and guide the club to the Champions League final last season – Chelsea will hope he can lift them up in similar fashion.
Man Utd and Liverpool ‘energy’
Manchester United and Liverpool have both posed huge tests for Tuchel in the past – and he believes there is a special aura around those two clubs.
Speaking before facing United in 2019, he said: “We haven’t played a lot of finals or semi-finals so sometimes it is difficult for us to play Liverpool or Manchester United.
“There is an energy for these clubs and I believe it really makes it more difficult. That is why we must stay together.”
Tuchel was also complementary of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before facing United – praising his qualities carried over from his time as a player.
“It’s better to always to be aware of the qualities of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,” said Tuchel.
“He’s shown a lot if times, not only to Bayern, that he is a super sub and he was one of the key players of the biggest era at Manchester United.
“He was a guy totally devoted to the team, always ready to help out the team, whether it was five minutes, 10 minutes or half-an-hour.
“This is the spirit that made him such a great player and a spirit I would use to describe Manchester United.
“They are a strong club with a strong history and it’s totally normal that we respect their quality.”
‘Angry’ Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated after a 2-1 defeat to Tuchel’s PSG in the Champions League group stage in 2018.
The Reds boss complained about gamesmanship – but Tuchel theorised after the game he was simply ‘angry’ because his side had lost.
“When I lose a big game I am angry and always in a bad mood, and I will talk about other stuff to bring attention away from my team also,” Tuchel said.
“I hear Jurgen has his opinion and that’s fine. I’m talking about the game.
“I don’t feel it is such a big issue. We suffered a lot of fouls. You don’t have to commit a lot of fouls, especially if you are 1-0 down. If you are 1-0 down then don’t commit 10 fouls in the next 10 minutes.
“I didn’t experience it this way around. If it is a big match and you lose then I am always in a bad mood. So if he was, then I understand. I know him very well and I don’t take this personally.”
Liverpool ‘machine’ and dangerous front-three
Whilst he accused Klopp of being “angry” after that game, Tuchel clearly appreciated what his compatriot was doing at Anfield long before they became Champions League and Premier League winners.
“We’re confident but it’s a challenge because Liverpool are one of the greatest teams in Europe,” Tuchel said before playing Liverpool.
“They got to the final and are always hard to play against.
“There are still big steps for us to go. We are facing a team – when you stress that word ‘team’ you end up at Liverpool.
“They really play as a team with the big influence of Jurgen with his energy. They have had three-and-a-half years together creating that mentality.
“Jurgen is an unbelievable trainer. He has lost only one key player in (Philippe) Coutinho and spent a lot of money. He does a great job to put this machine on the pitch every three days.”
His focus on their attacking trio was also well-placed as he said: “The key element of the game will be defending.
“Against Mane, Salah and Firmino this is an incredibly hard thing to do…but we have to do it collectively, and we have to focus as a team on this challenge.”
PSG ran out 2-1 winners in the game.
Tuchel took on Arsenal in a pre-season friendly back in the summer of 2018, playing a youthful side and being beaten 5-1.
Afterwards, he could not help a little dig at the Gunners’ predicament having dropped out of the Champions League.
When asked whether he thought PSG missed some of their better-known players against the Gunners, he responded: “Yes, clearly,” adding: “I think they [Arsenal] are playing in the Europa League this season, right?”
Aubameyang ‘in his heart’
Thomas Tuchel helped make Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the player he is whilst he was Borussia Dortmund manager.
Asked about the best players he has worked with, including Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, during his stint at PSG, Tuchel admitted his soft spot for the Gabonese striker.
“It’s a dangerous question!” He said.
“I’ve coached Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele… Auba will always remain in my heart.
“Kylian is exceptional, but Neymar and Cavani are also up there. Incredible players. I don’t like phrases like ‘the best’ or ‘better than’. We’re very happy with our players.”
Tottenham soft spot
Tuchel has indicated a soft spot for Chelsea’s big London rivals, Tottenham, in the past.
“As a little kid, in my garden, when I played [football] I was always [playing] as a team from the Bundesliga but there was one game when I played as Tottenham Hotspur because I liked the name so much,” he said in 2016 before facing them as Dortmund manager.
“I didn’t have a picture and I didn’t know they played in London so to play them in two legs was very special. What I didn’t know as a kid is what I felt today and yesterday, that there are so many friendly people here.
“The coaching staff and the staff in the stadium and dressing room and benches and so on, was unbelievable. Such great support and atmosphere, so many friendly people, they made us feel welcome.
“Thanks a lot and best of luck to the club.”
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