Chelsea have officially unveiled Thomas Tuchel as the club’s new manager after the sacking of Blues icon Frank Lampard amid an alarming slump in form.
Lampard was formally fired on Monday after 19 months in charge at Stamford Bridge.
The midfield legend left with the club lying ninth in the Premier League table, 11 points off the top and five points adrift of the Champions League places.
Lampard’s reign ended with a 3-1 FA Cup win against Luton Town on Sunday but the damage had already been done by a run of five defeats in Chelsea’s past eight Premier League games.
The club owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich have now turned to German Tuchel to guide them out of their malaise and push them back up the table.
Chelsea confirmed the appointment of the 47-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain manager on Tuesday, on an 18-month deal with the option of an extension.
“I would like to thank Chelsea FC for their confidence in me and my staff,” Tuchel said in a statement released by the club.
“We all have the greatest respect for Frank Lampard’s work and the legacy he created at Chelsea. At the same time, I cannot wait to meet my new team and compete in the most exciting league in football. I am grateful to now be part of the Chelsea family. It feels amazing.”
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added that it was “never easy to change head coach in the middle of the season but we are very happy to secure one of Europe’s best coaches in Thomas Tuchel.”
Tuchel arrived at the club’s Cobham base on Tuesday evening and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Wolves at Stamford Bridge.
The German becomes Abramovich’s 13th different manager since the Russian oligarch bought the west London club back in the summer of 2013.
Tuchel was sacked by PSG in December after reports he had fallen out with the hierarchy in Paris.
The dismissal came despite Tuchel leading the team to back-to-back Ligue 1 titles as well as a maiden appearance in the Champions League final last season.
Tuchel’s immediate tasks at Chelsea will be coaxing the best out of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner – two countrymen who arrived in London in the summer with high price tags and expectations but who have thus far failed to deliver.
The German will be reunited with American winger Christian Pulisic, whom he managed at Borussia Dortmund, as well as veteran former PSG captain Thiago Silva, who joined Chelsea as a free agent last summer.
There was disappointment among the Chelsea faithful that club icon Lampard was not handed more time to turn things around, having led the team to a creditable fourth-placed finish in his first season in charge.
However, tensions were said to have become increasingly strained with the Blues hierarchy this campaign over transfer targets and the fate of big-money goalkeeping flop Kepa Arrizabalaga.
There was also said to be discontent among significant sections of the dressing room over a lack of direction and tactical instruction from Lampard.
Former Dortmund and Mainz manager Tuchel is seen as more tactically astute and experienced than Lampard, having stepped into senior management with Augsburg II as early as 2007 after a knee injury curtailed his playing career at the age of 25.
However, Tuchel is not known for his handling of football club politics, which may be an issue at Chelsea where director Marina Granovskaia is said to run a tight ship on behalf of owner Abramovich.
The Russian oligarch had issued a rare public statement thanking Lampard on Monday, signaling the difficulty presented by the decision to sack the club’s all-time top scorer.
Lampard himself later released a statement on thanking Abramovich but expressing disappointment that he was not provided more time to turn around the team’s fortunes.
The London club is now taking a new direction with yet another manager at the helm.