Last modified on Sun 27 Feb 2022 23.36 GMT
Thomas Tuchel said that nothing will change for him after Roman Abramovich passed stewardship of Chelsea to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
Tuchel, who also defended his decision to bring on Kepa Arrizabalaga for penalties in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday,on Sunday, which they then lost 11-10, insisted he is not concerned after a weekend of drama at Chelsea. Abramovich’s move to relinquish the running of Chelsea came after a call in parliament for him to be sanctioned and was said to have been provoked by the growing focus on him following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However the Russian, who announced the move on Saturday evening, remains Chelsea’s owner and the club’s leadership structure has not altered significantly. The charitable foundation is headed by Bruce Buck, the club’s chairman, and football decisions by the powerful director, Marina Granovskaia, and the technical and performance adviser, Petr Cech, both of whom are already close with Tuchel.
“I think it will change nothing for me on a daily basis,” Tuchel said. “This is how I understand it. I am in close contact with Marina and Petr Cech to run the first team of Chelsea football club and to give my input in this and give my very best to win football matches. This will not change with the news from yesterday.”
There was a poignancy to the occasion as the Wembley crowd stood as one before the game to show support for Ukraine. “Football stands together” was the message on the big screens before kick-off, there were Ukrainian flags in the crowd and the players of both sides came together to show unity after entering the field of play.
The action would begin only after Tuchel and his Liverpool counterpart, Jürgen Klopp, removed blue and yellow flowers from the pitch before watching their sides lock horns in a thrilling contest.
Chelsea have lost their past four domestic finals but Tuchel said he had no regrets about losing 11-10 on penalties. The German refused to blame Arrizabalaga after bringing the goalkeeper on for Edouard Mendy just before the shootout. Arrizabalaga, who had helped Chelsea to win three shootouts this season, was beaten by each of Liverpool’s takers and lifted the decisive kick over the bar.
“I feel bad for him,” Tuchel said. “But no blame. We took the decision because Kepa is training with the players on a daily basis at penalties. They know how good he is. He has more time than Edou to do this. Everyone knows how good he is. This plays a part in how well we shot today.
“Unfortunately he could not save any. It was a bit harsh on him to miss the one and only penalty. But there is no blame. I take the decisions when I take the decisions. I only take them when I want to take them. I cannot rejudge my decisions when I know the outcome.
“This is how it is. No blame on him. Blame on me. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not work out. This is life as a football coach who does substitutions. Sometimes you bring a player on and he scores. Sometimes he makes a decisive mistake. No regrets. If it is necessary to take the blame, absolutely it is on me.”
Liverpool had a potential winner for Joel Matip ruled out for a tight offside and Chelsea, who also had two Kai Havertz strikes chalked off, were aggrieved that Romelu Lukaku had a goal ruled out by VAR.
“We have to accept the quality of the opponent,” Tuchel said. “This is the most dangerous attacking side in Europe at the moment. Defending like this and playing like this made me very proud today. I had the feeling we created a bit more but maybe that is subjective. This game easily could have gone either way. You need a bit of luck. If you look at the line drawn for the goal of Romelu it is a bit of a weird line [for offside]. But that’s it. We cannot have any regrets.”
Klopp praised Caoimhén Kelleher after starting Liverpool’s No 2 goalkeeper instead of Alisson Becker. “It’s been quite a journey from the boy I first saw to the man he is now,” Liverpool’s manager said.
Kelleher, 23, was asked what Klopp said to him after Arrizabalaga’s penalty confirmed Liverpool’s victory. “He just said: ‘Well done for scoring the winning penalty, there’s a wall with all the goalkeepers on who have won cups so now you can go on that,’” the Irishman said.
Last modified on Sun 27 Feb 2022 23.36 GMT