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Tuchel says he must ‘earn’ a lengthy stay at Chelsea as he looks to close gap to Man City ‘as fast as possible’

Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he will have to ‘earn’ an extended stay at Chelsea, as he looks to try and close the gap to Manchester City at the top of the table.

The German has made an encouraging start to life at Stamford Bridge since replacing Frank Lampard at the end of January, the Blues unbeaten in nine games under the former Borussia Dortmund boss and now back in the race for a top four spot.

The 47-year-old – who was sacked as manager of Paris Saint-Germain on Christmas Eve after two-and-a-half years in France – has claimed six wins and three draws in all competitions so far, the latest result seeing his side play out a goalless draw with rivals Manchester United.

That stalemate was the seventh clean sheet for Tuchel’s men in his early tenure, his switch to a back three having provided some much need defensive solidity to a backline that had looked shaky under his predecessor.

While he’s made a strong start to life in England, Tuchel will know that he won’t be afforded much time to turn things around in west London, shown by the recent history of ruthless managerial sackings at the club and also the fact that he was handed just an 18-month contract when he took the job.

Such a relatively brief deal may not inspire too much confidence, although he admitted he must earn the right to build Chelsea’s future for the long term like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have done at Liverpool and Manchester City, respectively.

“I have to earn it,” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday’s clash with Liverpool.

“I have to earn it that I can have the same time as Jurgen and Pep.

“This was no gift to them. Everybody in the club saw what they are doing, what impact they can have on teams and on their clubs, in the second step, and this is what I have to prove.

“This is my target and from there on, it’s my job. I have to live every day and every week to make my impact here and to show that I deserve the same amount of time to build teams.

“I have to earn it, I cannot say more, but I don’t have the feeling right now that it’s an obstacle at the moment that holds me back from building and showing that I’m capable to do it.”

Although it already looks as if the title race is done and dusted this term, with City having a 14-point lead over Manchester United in fourth, Tuchel revealed that his aim is to try and compete with Guardiola’s side for the title next season.

“It has to be the ambition to close the gap as fast as possible,” he added. “The point is, will we close the gap to Man City this season? No, we will not. It’s impossible. But from next season on, we start with zero points all of us, and City were in trouble [earlier] this season and nobody took advantage of it.

“This is what we are up for and now we are challenging for top four, which was a big, big task when we first stepped in, and from next year we will challenge for all titles, all competitions, sure.”

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