Rio Ferdinand has revealed his recent conversation with Thomas Tuchel and has suggested that Chelsea’s owners tried to ‘influence player selections’.
Tuchel was sacked as head coach of Chelsea last week in a decision that caused surprise, with the west London club’s new ownership dismissing the German following an underwhelming start to the new campaign.
Tuchel departed having won the Champions League, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup across his 20 months in charge at Stamford Bridge, while he was sacked just weeks after being granted a huge summer spend of £253.79m.
Ferdinand has opened up on Chelsea’s decision to sack Tuchel and admitted his surprise, but suggested the club’s American ownership have attempted to become too involved in football decisions.
“It’s a big thing with a manager being sacked and the way it happened,” he said on Vibe with Five.
“I met him and did an interview with him just prior to that about his Chelsea team and the way it’s structured and his plans going forward. It was just really mad and it was surreal really when I heard the news coming through because the way he was talking to me on and off screen was like he was delighted to be there.
“I’ve spoken to people behind the scenes and from good sources it was as much a surprise to the coaching staff as it was to everyone outside. The staff had spent a lot of time speaking to the owners and from what I’m told Tuchel and his team had never had as much engagement with owners at any point in their careers.
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. pic.twitter.com/0TTlUOjWDx
— Thomas Tuchel (@TTuchelofficial) September 11, 2022
“There’s hands on and there’s too much. From what I hear they were getting their noses too into things that should be left to a manager.”
Ferdinand revealed that he had heard stories regarding Chelsea’s new owners, including that the Blues board had tried to influence player selection.
“Can you get away with one extra player on the pitch?” Ferdinand joked. “I’ve heard those stories, they’re trying to influence even player selection and when you get to that point you can start to understand why a manager would have some pushback.
“Tuchel, the personality and character he is, he wouldn’t have accepted that, some other characters will do as new owners say but Thomas Tuchel isn’t that guy.
“Why let him have the money if you knew you were always going to get rid of him?”
Ferdinand insists that the head coach should be left alone to make football decisions and outlined his hope that Graham Potter can become a success at Chelsea, following the appointment of the former Brighton boss.
“There are a lot of wild opinions being said behind the scenes with formations and individual players that the new ownership want out of the team,” he said. “I think [Edouard] Mendy would have been one of them in terms of kicking the ball.
“I don’t know if an owner should even be talking about that, the manager is there to deal with that. You employ people that are professionals in that area. It will be interesting to see if they have that involvement with Potter.
“I think it’s a clear understanding of football. It has to be. It’s very different in American sports teams. I don’t know any other business that allows someone at the helm to spend that money and then let someone else run it.
“I hope it works out for him, I really do.”