Joe Cole has given his verdict on Chelsea and the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, while also explaining why Manchester United will be ‘kicking themselves’ about a failed opportunity.
Chelsea are heading into a new era after replacing Tuchel with Graham Potter. The Englishman has left Brighton to sign a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel was sacked the day after Chelsea’s surprise Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb. But that poor result wasn’t the only reason he was let go.
Chelsea’s new owners, led by Todd Boehly, were unsure about Tuchel’s suitability going forward. They wanted someone with a true vision for the future, who could interact with them regularly about the club’s plans.
Instead, the German largely kept to himself and focused on coaching the senior squad. This left the Chelsea hierarchy looking for a potential replacement.
And they went on to appoint Potter. He did not come cheap as they had to pay Brighton a £15million compensation fee.
Chelsea also sent Tuchel £6.9m for his sacking, which took the total cost of their managerial replacement to £21.9m.
Potter will take charge of Chelsea for the first time when they host Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Chelsea ‘wrong’ to sack Tuchel – Joe Cole
Ahead of the match, former Blues star Cole appeared on the Vibe with Five YouTube channel, along with Rio Ferdinand.
Cole thinks Potter will provide ‘stability’, which could see Chelsea catch up with Manchester City. But he also praised Tuchel for the work he did in west London.
“I’m happy to say I think it was the wrong decision to get rid of Thomas Tuchel,” the pundit admitted. “He connected to the Chelsea fans and he won trophies.
“He was in a difficult period, that’s for sure, but getting rid of him was harsh. How was it handled? There’s no good way to get rid of a manger but I think the decision was wrong and they could have stuck with him.
“Chelsea fans are used to getting [Antonio] Conte, [Jose] Mourinho – top managers. But to go with Graham Potter, I’m actually quite excited about that because that suggests to me that we’re going in a different direction and looking for stability.
“For all of the success Chelsea have had, if we had stability like Man City have had with Pep [Guardiola], we could have had more.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. It’s okay saying he’s our manager for the next few years but what if we don’t get into the Champions League? That’s when the test is going to come.
“But I’m excited because I love his brand of football. Only time will tell but maybe we can get more stability under the new owners.”
Cole then spoke about Manchester United, who were linked with Tuchel’s signature during their hunt for a new manager.
Man Utd could have done with ‘top manager’ Tuchel
“I feel for Thomas Tuchel, it’s harsh because he’s a top manager. I’ll tell you who will be kicking themselves a little bit: Man United. I bet they wish this happened three or four months ago,” Cole added.
“I don’t know how the Ten Hag era will go. It’s looking promising at the moment, but Thomas Tuchel is exactly what Man United need. He’s the type of character who can galvanize a group. I think he’s different gear, Thomas Tuchel.”
Potter will undoubtedly bring his exciting brand of football to Chelsea. However, he will have a few big issues to deal with over the next few months.
Most of Chelsea’s summer signings were made for Tuchel. The most notable of these is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He has a great relationship with Tuchel and will now be wondering what his future looks like under Potter. The manager will either stick with Aubameyang or push for a different striker to come in next year.
Potter will also have to decide whether to stick with Tuchel’s 3-4-3 formation or go with his own tactic. He generally used wing-backs at Brighton, so it shouldn’t be too much of a change.
United, meanwhile, may have some thoughts about Tuchel. They went after him prior to capturing Ten Hag from Ajax.
The Dutchman is clearly a classy operator and he seems to be getting the best out of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, plus others.
Having said that, Tuchel is a winner who took Chelsea to the Champions League crown in 2021. As such, there may be some at United who regret not being able to get him, just as Cole mentions.