Thomas Tuchel laid down the law to a Chelsea player when he enquired about leaving, despite admitting his handling of the star wasn’t always fair.
Under Tuchel, Chelsea have arguably become the Premier League’s team to beat. The Blues currently hold a three-point advantage after 10 league games and few would be surprised to see them remain in top spot come May.
A key component behind their surge under the German has been their impressive strength in depth.
Tuchel is able to rotate his defenders at will without a noticeable dip in quality. The same can also be said of his wide forwards.
The likes of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have all been given minutes in the attacking areas this season. And with Christian Pulisic now back from injury, Tuchel has yet another top class option at his disposal.
However, they have all combined to severely restrict the minutes of Callum Hudson-Odoi in his favoured advanced position.
As a result, the winger has often been deployed out of position at right-wingback under Tuchel.
Hudson-Odoi was heavily linked with a move away over the summer. Borussia Dortmund enquired, but Tuchel nipped that potential deal in the bud.
Now, speaking in his Monday press conference (via Football London), Tuchel was asked if he is happy Hudson-Odoi stayed. In his response, Tuchel admitted his decision to play the 20-year-old further back wasn’t always fair. Nonetheless, he praised the youngster for always remaining positive.
“It wasn’t like we wanted to have him out and now he stayed,” said Tuchel. “We didn’t let him leave. We built the squad and Callum was a piece of the puzzle. He thought it might be tough to get minutes and it might be easier at another club. But you can never be sure.
“I told him straight when he asked, that it was not possible. We rely on him and we feel he can still make huge progress within this group and club.
“Was it always fair to play him as a right wing-back? No, maybe not. But he had to take it for the team and was always positive.
“He had a good pre-season when we saw what he could do on the left side. He struggled to prove that during matches but now it was important he showed up and delivered with injuries and this is what he did.
“To get a place in this team, it’s all about performance and this is what Callum shows at the moment. It’s important he shows consistency, stays hungry, and keeps on going.”
Tuchel describes Chelsea as “perfect fit”
When asked if Tuchel felt he had a point to prove at Chelsea after being sacked at PSG in 2020, the German said: “You need a bit of luck; you can’t win Champions League through planning and effort alone. It’s not like this. You need luck and when it’s meant to be.
“I am in this place because of my experience at other clubs and teams. I am grateful I learned at academy level, that some people in my career trusted me and gave me confidence, starting with my parents and the bosses in the youth academies.
“The target is to get better every day, every match, never stop progressing as a coach. Now it seems to be the perfect fit for me from day one. I am super happy to be part of the club and maybe this is the last percent.
“If you feel happy and appreciated, you are able to produce results together. I’m part of a big team, a big club, this is how I see myself. I don’t know if I needed extra motivation. I wasn’t happy to be sacked at [PSG] because I had big plans for the Champions League, big plans to win the league again [at PSG].
“But then some weeks later came a huge opportunity and I had the desire to step into this adventure was bigger than the fear about an 18-month contract. You need to be brave, courageous and I have the feeling I got a big reward. I am happy where I am.”