Chelsea boss Tuchel ‘would be looking over his shoulder’ if Abramovich sanctions ease

Ancelotti insists Real Madrid 'fully focussed' for Chelsea tie

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Former Chelsea star Glen Johnson claims that Thomas Tuchel may have been forced to ‘look over his shoulder’ if Roman Abramovich remained the club’s owner. A poor first leg Champions League showing against Real Madrid painted a worrying picture for Blues fans, which may have concerned the ruthless Russian in years gone by. 

Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, had his UK assets frozen by the government last month in response to Russia’s widely-condemned invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. That effectively left the Blues cut off from their owner’s money, and forced the billionaire into a sale which he would not be allowed to make a penny from. 

Tuchel did well to keep his players’ minds focused to begin with, but two damaging defeats against Brentford and Real Madrid at home left the German scratching his head. Johnson, who spent four years at Stamford Bridge as a youngster, suggests that Tuchel may be fortunate that Abramovich is on his way out due to the nature of Los Blancos’ win in particular, which saw Karim Benzema fire in a sublime hat-trick. 

“Real Madrid can beat anyone, but it was the manner in which Chelsea got beat at Stamford Bridge that was the disappointing thing, which Tuchel showed as well,” he explained to, “It was more about that. I think Tuchel would be looking over his shoulder a lot more if Roman was still there.

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“None of us want to see people losing their jobs after six months, eight months, eighteen months or whatever, but no one can complain about the success at Chelsea. It has clearly worked.

“And I guess the managers know what they’re signing up for. If you’re going to Chelsea, you know you’ve got a gun to your head. You have to perform immediately. And maybe that makes the managers perform out of their skin immediately and maybe the players know that as well and feel it.”

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Tuchel’s side have failed to keep up with Liverpool and Manchester City into the latter stages of this Premier League season, but his team’s superb Champions League triumph last term leaves him with plenty of credit in the bank. Promising for fans is the prospect that more could be in the pipeline with Romelu Lukaku faltering up top after Chelsea blew a huge chunk of their transfer funds on the striker last summer. 

New owners could be instated at Stamford Bridge soon enough with the process well underway. Four separate consortiums are still believed to be in the running including those involving Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton, Stephen Pagliuca and the Ricketts family.

The latter, who already own baseball team the Chicago Cubs, are viewed by many Blues fans as an unpoplar choice after Islamophobic emails surfaced from the family’s patriarch, Joe Ricketts. A smattering of fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge before the Brentford tie to protest their prospective takeover. 

ESPN claim that figures within the family believe that rival bidders are playing ‘dirty tricks’ by encouraging the protests. Other reports indicate that the club will prioritise future guardianship rather than the highest bid as Abramovich’s 19-year ownership stint draws to a close. 

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