Thomas Tuchel has discussed the ‘huge influence’ Ralf Rangnick had on his career ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester United this weekend.
The 63-year-old is a respected figure in world football and was responsible for handing Tuchel his first coaching opportunity, encouraging his compatriot to take up a role after his playing career was cut short through injury.
Tuchel has spoken on the influence Rangnick had on his formative career, admitting he was amongst the figures to convince him to try his hand at coaching.
“He helped me a lot because he was my coach and then one of the main figures to convince me to try coaching.” Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference.
“He was a huge influence on all of us at this time because he showed us it’s not important to follow people to the toilet in games, people felt defenders followed the strikers in games.
“Before I get carried away and talk too much, he isn’t appointed yet. So let’s respect everybody.”
United will arrive at Stamford Bridge this weekend in the midst of a poor run of form, having lost five of their past seven league fixtures following last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Watford.
They did earn a 2-0 win over Villarreal in midweek to book their place in the Champions League knockout stages, and Tuchel has refused to rule out the Red Devils bouncing back against Chelsea, insisting United remain a side full of players at the ‘highest level’.
“I would never write anybody off in this game,” he said. “They are a big club and have experienced players. We must not let them perform because if you do, we will see the talent of these players because they are at the highest level.”
The German refused suggestions that this was a good time to face this weekend’s opponents, who will be overseen by Michael Carrick as he continues his caretaker position.
Tuchel is expecting a difficult clash and believes Chelsea will be ‘challenged’ as the league leaders look to maintain their advantage at the top of the Premier League.
“I don’t know if it’s ever a good time to play against teams because that would mean we know something or predict something,” he insisted. “We will not lose too many minutes thinking about this and put all our energy and focus into our team.
“We are up for the big challenges and we want to be out there playing at the highest level. We want to prove a point. We have just come from a hard match and now we are onto the next one. We will be challenged at the highest level again on Sunday.”
Tuchel also confirmed that Romelu Lukaku remains a doubt to face his former side, despite being amongst the substitutes during the midweek win over Juventus.
The Belgium international has been sidelined with an ankle injury and Tuchel is keen to ensure the record signing is not rushed back into action.
“The possibility he starts is not very high because we can’t be sure what happens in the match and we have to find the balance to giving minutes and being absolutely competitive for 90 minutes.”