Thomas Tuchel has called on his Chelsea players to ‘dig in’ amid the uncertainty surrounding the club.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was this week hit with sanctions by the UK government, the 55-year-old’s assets frozen in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions mean Abramovich will not be able to complete his intended sale of the club, whilst the impact on Chelsea will be severe with the west Londoners unable to offer staff or players new contracts, conduct transfer business, sell new tickets for games or merchandise, or begin any stadium work or redevelopment.
Chelsea secured a 3-1 win at Norwich just hours after the news on the sanctions was announced and Tuchel insists his side must focus on football amid the uncertainty.
“It’s maybe way too early to talk about it,” Tuchel told a press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Newcastle. “I don’t know exactly the rules about the current situation and I think, as the statement said from the club, there are negotiations and talks going on about the licence. So let’s see what’s coming.
“It makes not a lot of sense for me to comment on the situation now and give an outlook to the future in the summer. I trust in everybody who is in charge, I trust people who are in charge in the government to find a solution that keeps us going through the season, and gives us the possibility to be in charge of our actions in the summer.
“I think this is what we can do now. We were all surprised by the news and it is too early to have an outlook on the summer I guess.”
We’ve got super Tommy Tuchel. 🎶 pic.twitter.com/rYZWpUWB7M
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 10, 2022
Chelsea’s shirt sponsor, the mobile phone company Three, has suspended its sponsorship of the Blues with immediate effect and has asked the club to remove their logo from their shirts.
Tuchel was asked whether Chelsea could instead promote a message of peace given their absence of a sponsor and suggested he would be open to the move, though said it may not be possible given that the club’s spending is being limited.
“We can always wear a message for peace. It can never be the wrong message,” he said. “Maybe the worry is to find enough shirts to play in with the sanctions, but as long as we have enough shirts as the bus is full of fuel we will arrive and be competitive.
“This is what everybody can be sure of and this is what we demand of ourselves. When it’s a big storm you dig in, you hold together, you stay strong and go through it. But messages for peace can never be wrong.”
Tuchel admitted the noise surrounding Chelsea makes it difficult to focus on football, but insisted his side will be ‘ready’ when the Blues take on Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend.
“It’s always the best way to carry on winning. Also, for us, it’s maybe in the moment a bit more difficult because of the noise. Some players will feel uncertainty. Some may be will be a bit frightened. Some will be concerned. It’s normal.
“And it’s not only about the players. We have a lot of people on the staff at the club who are maybe also worried and scared and uncertain. That’s why it’s very important that we keep the trust and the belief within the training centre and in all of us.
“We rely on ourselves and, in the end, allow ourselves to be the guys who take care of the sport because we did not cause the situation and we cannot solve the situation.
“It can also give us the freedom, in the end, to still enjoy what we are doing and still follow the responsibility to give everything, and that’s what we demand of ourselves.
“This is what we do and I’m happy we can still produce results and performances. We will be on it again to be ready for Sunday.”