Thomas Tuchel 'devastated' by Chelsea departure: 'This is a club where I felt at home'

German was sacked last week 100 days after the new owners took control of the club

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Thomas Tuchel has said he is "devastated" after being sacked by Chelsea and had hoped to remain at the Premier League club for "many years".

Tuchel, 49, was fired last Wednesday following Chelsea's shock 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in their opening game of the Champions League.

That result compounded a stuttering start to the season, which also saw defeats away to Leeds United and Southampton, while Tuchel had already been punished for a touchline spat with Tottenham manager Antonio Conte.

Chelsea had set a new Premier League record for most money spent in a single transfer window — £271.1 million — following the arrival of new owners, led by American businessman Todd Boehly, who took over the club from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

After their first 100 days in charge, they decided to sack Tuchel and replace the German with Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter.

"This is one of the most difficult statements I have ever had to write, and it is one which I hoped I would not need to do for many years. I am devastated that my time at Chelsea has come to an end," Tuchel wrote on Twitter.

"This is a club where I felt at home, both professionally and personally."

Tuchel made an instant impact when he was appointed Chelsea manager in January 2021, replacing club legend Frank Lampard with the club ninth in the Premier League table. He masterminded a turnaround that saw the Blues finish fourth, reach the FA Cup final, and famously win their second Champions League title.

However, results had already started to decline towards the end of last season, despite Chelsea finishing third in the Premier League and reaching both domestic cup finals, losing to Liverpool both times on penalties.

It is also being reported that Tuchel's relationship with the new owners had become strained as the German reluctantly assumed a more hands-on role with transfer business and other non-coaching matters.

"The pride and joy I felt at helping the team to win the Champions League and the Club World Cup will stay with me forever," Tuchel said.

"I am honoured to have been a part of this club’s history and the memories of the last 19 months will always have a special place in my heart."

New Chelsea manager Potter signed a five-year contract and arrives at the club following an impressive three-year spell with Brighton, leading the club to ninth in the Premier League last season — their highest-ever finish — and a strong start to the current campaign.

In an open letter to Brighton fans, Potter asked for "forgiveness" and thanked the club for "three wonderful years".

Updated: September 12, 2022, 4:58 AM
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