Thomas Tuchel has heaped praise on former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ahead of the clash between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Tuchel and Aubameyang worked together with the Bundesliga club before the striker moved to Arsenal. The coach also eventually moved on, ending up at Chelsea via Paris Saint-Germain. They will be on the opposite sides when the two rivals go head to head on Wednesday night.
It will be the first time Tuchel and Aubameyang have crossed paths since they left Dortmund. Even though they will be rivals on the night, the Chelsea boss revealed how strong his relationship with his ex-frontman still is.
“Back in the days at Dortmund, it was a pure pleasure to have him in the squad,” Tuchel said.
“Auba was a fantastic striker, a fantastic finisher on the pitch. But, more than that, he was a fantastic worker off the pitch.
“I think he did not miss one single training in two years. Maybe he arrived five minutes late on the training ground, that can happen with him! But if he does this, he is in a hurry, he feels sorry, he still has a smile on his face.
“It was a very reliable relationship because he delivered an unbelievable amount of goals, his speed was unique in the Bundesliga and he was a crucial player. A bit of a crazy guy, but nice crazy.
“We still are in touch and exchange messages when one of us has a big win. In some ways, he will still always be my player, so I want him to succeed and have a good time wherever he is.
“This contact never fully stopped and it’s nice to see him because he’s always on for a hug and it’s nice to see him laugh. But, of course, we want to stop him and there is no exchange now before the game.”
Tuchel calls Aubameyang a winner
Since leaving Dortmund, Aubameyang has only been able to add the FA Cup and Community Shield to his medal collection. He previously won three trophies with Dortmund, the latter coming under Tuchel.
Despite his relative lack of reward for his talents, Tuchel insists Aubameyang still has a winning mentality. In fact, he claimed he just needed better players around him.
“Yeah, because he is a winner,” he said. “We won the cup together in Dortmund.
“I never had a feeling that he lacks a certain edge in his mentality about wanting to win stuff. But, clearly, he cannot do it alone and he also needs a top squad to play in to compete at the highest level.”
However, Tuchel did not entertain the idea of working with Aubameyang again in the future.
“Well he does not get younger, that’s the problem.”