Thomas Tuchel brings performance over potential and a hope he can bring the best out of Chelsea's underperforming players

German tactician will hope to avoid the internal politics that led to his dismissal at PSG

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Thomas Tuchel spent the end of his time at Paris Saint-Germain attempting to issue a correction and clarification. He had not, he insisted, claimed he felt more like a "politician in sport" than a coach at the French champions. He had been mistranslated, he said.

A month later, he is at Chelsea, perhaps the most political of Premier League clubs. He has left the frying pan behind him, only to enter the fire. The German had a fractious relationship with the PSG sporting director, Leonardo, and a capacity to fall out with clubs’ hierarchies scarcely bodes well for his longevity at Stamford Bridge. Just ask Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte.

If his appointment is prompted in part by his availability, the reasons for it go far beyond that. As a former economics student, Tuchel will recognise the importance for Chelsea of qualifying for the Champions League. A club who spent nearly £300 million ($409m) last summer did not expect to be in mid-table now.

One who perhaps felt that Frank Lampard, propelled into a position of such prominence by his playing exploits, was too inexperienced, now have the opposite: a career coach who was forced to retire at 25, whose performances on the pitch were no shortcut to employment in the dugout. Lampard believed in youth and attacking football but there was insufficient evidence to say that amounted to a philosophy. Tuchel, a successor of Jurgen Klopp at both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, belongs firmly in the Germanic school of thinking. The aim will be to construct something more coherent. If, as a pressing evangelist, Tuchel had a challenge when managing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Chelsea’s squad ought to offer more players who buy into his thinking.

Above all, though, Tuchel has more concrete achievements than Lampard. Potential has been replaced by performance. He took Mainz to the highest place in their history, fifth in the Bundesliga, and PSG further than they had ever been in Europe before, to the Champions League final. His finishes with Dortmund – second and third – may feel unspectacular but he inherited a team that had come seventh the previous season. He only lost 10 of 68 Bundesliga games; albeit in a different league and different circumstances, Lampard lost six of 19 this season.


Chelsea players' salaries


Chelsea can look to Dortmund for encouragement in another respect. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 56 goals in 63 league games under Tuchel, a far better return than he delivered for Klopp. Given Timo Werner’s struggles under Lampard, Chelsea will wonder what he can do with another fast forward. It may be simplistic to say they are plumping for a German manager to get the best from two German players but the failure of Werner and Kai Havertz means finding ways for them to perform would be a priority for any new coach. That each has delivered for managers with some stylistic similarities to Tuchel – Julian Nagelsmann at Leipzig and Peter Bosz for Bayer Leverkusen – may be auspicious. So, too, that he enjoyed a fine relationship with Thiago Silva for PSG and gave Christian Pulisic his Dortmund debut. In Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount, Lampard has left a couple of Tuchel-type players.

The challenge that proved beyond Lampard of late was alighting on a strongest side, of getting a team to be the sum of its expensive parts and of beating the best. Tuchel’s past suggests he can have an immediate impact: he won his first 11 games with Dortmund and 12 of the first 13 with PSG. Now Chelsea’s fixture list renders a repeat tougher. But getting an early upturn at a results business would be a way of making the internal politics less significant.