THOMAS TUCHEL has loosened his grip on Chelsea’s stars as he plots a route to the Premier League title.
The German boss is letting his players police themselves on timekeeping, despite the strict system of fines under predecessor Frank Lampard.
Thomas Tuchel has introduced a relaxed approach to timekeeping at ChelseaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Frank Lampard had an infamous list of expensive fines for players who were lateCredit: AFP
Tuchel has also cut back dramatically on overnight stays in hotels, even before away games, to give his squad more time at home with their families.
And he learned the names of everyone in the first-team bubble at the club’s Surrey training ground within days to promote unity.
These measures, combined with a policy of plain-talking and tactical shifts, have helped transform Chelsea into a rock-solid side once again.
A draw or win at Leeds this lunchtime will make it a dozen games unbeaten for Tuchel.
For a coach dubbed The Professor, with a reputation for picking fights with his superiors, Tuchel is showing a human touch and living up to the claim that he is far more chilled out these days.
Lampard’s rules included a £20,000 penalty for being late for training, eye-popping even by the standards of super-rich Premier League players.
Tuchel said: “I was not aware of the fines. But first of all I trust that people show up on time, because a group is like a family.
“I’m more into trusting and convincing them about the values than setting the rules and fines.
Players would have to pay the price for breaking any rules
“I’m not against fines but it should be something in the dressing room that experienced players take care of.
“Nobody has been late yet for a meeting or out on the pitch. If a player arrives at 10.01 or 9.59 I am not the police.
“I won’t be hanging around the window checking the time and I expect my senior players to take care of that — to guide as an example how you live at Chelsea.
“If they organise this with fines then they can have a nice dinner or a nice holiday together. It’s on them. This is how we do stuff.”
Tuchel has stripped back travel demands too, a source of frustration in the past.
Chelsea flew to Liverpool on the day of their March 4 Premier League fixture, a nailed-on overnighter in the past.
Players competing in Europe spend dozens of nights away which can cause earache at home, even if they do not mind being away themselves.
A happy wife and children makes for a happy player and hopefully a more productive one.
Chelsea’s Cobham training headquarters is said to be a happy place at present.
Crisp English is spoken at all times, despite the large contingent of Germans on the management and playing staff.
And Tuchel made it a top priority to learn the names of everyone working there.
A club source said: “There must be 60-70 people in the first-team bubble but he knew the names of the cleaners almost immediately. It makes people feel valued.”
Tuchel expects the trust to be repaid in loyalty, even if players are not being picked.
He said: “We play football and work in football. If we can’t laugh who can?
“We should be happy. When we are privileged and have such an amount of talent, it is our duty to fulfil it.”
At 47, testosterone levels may be subsiding and that too could be behind the manager’s new, people-friendly approach.
Tuchel was filmed barking instructions in brutal fashion to striker Timo Werner during Monday’s 2-0 win over Everton, with the player looking confused about his position.
Boss Tuchel said: “You should have seen me ten years ago, it was double and triple. I was totally sucked into the match. I was sweating all over.
“I was attacking the fourth official all the time. I was attacking the referees and everybody on the bench. Nobody was safe!
“It is not always the best way to express your feelings at the sideline to give an instant view into what you think and feel.
“Sometimes you will see me acting hysterically on the sidelines, sometimes you will see me sitting and reflecting and discussing with my assistants. I am an emotional guy.”
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