Thomas Tuchel: If Man Utd need open heart surgery, Chelsea only need a facelift

Rangnick believes new United boss Erik Ten Hag will have to breathe new life into the Old Trafford ranks.

By Press Association Published: 27 April 2022 - 9.30pm

Thomas Tuchel has insisted Chelsea’s squad only needs a facelift for next season, ahead of taking on a Manchester United side that Ralf Rangnick reckons requires “open heart surgery”.

Blues coach Tuchel will go head to head with mentor Rangnick at Old Trafford in Thursday’s Premier League clash, adamant that Chelsea do not need the emergency operation being talked about by the Red Devils.

Where Rangnick believes new United boss Erik Ten Hag will have to breathe new life into the Old Trafford ranks, Tuchel still remains confident Chelsea’s needs only run skin deep.

Manchester United v Norwich City – Premier League – Old Trafford
Ralf Rangnick, pictured, had strong words for the state of Manchester United’s squad (Martin Rickett/PA)

Chelsea have lost ground on their rivals in recruitment and retention for next term due to the club’s constraints given owner Roman Abramovich’s UK Government sanctions.

Talisman defender Antonio Rudiger will leave for Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer, with fellow centre-back Andreas Christensen also bound for Barcelona.

Asked what Chelsea need this summer in light of Rangnick’s heart operation comments, Tuchel replied: “Cosmetic surgery. I would be less concerned if we had still the same ownership, if we could rely on our structure.

“As this is also in question we are, not concerned, but aware of the danger that the situation is maybe a bit more complex.

“And it can be complex enough if you lose a player like Toni, and maybe lose another player like Andreas with the kind of quality, and both of them free.

Roman Abramovich file photo
Roman Abramovich, pictured, will sell Chelsea after 19 years owning the west London club (Adam Davy/PA)

“It is demanding enough nowadays in football to lose these kinds of quality, in a back three lose two key players for free.

“It can be demanding enough even if everything else stays in place. So with this in question it can be a very, very demanding summer.

“I don’t know if surgery is the right term for it but I just want to be positive about it and stick to the things we can influence.”

Chelsea remain on course to have new owners in place by the end of May, with Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Pagliuca the remaining consortium bidders for the Blues.

The Raine Group could select its preferred bidder for Chelsea by the end of this week, which would then leave the Government to grant a new licence for the sale to be complete.

“I don't know if surgery is the right term for it but I just want to be positive about it and stick to the things we can influence”
- Thomas Tuchel

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven links between the Russian-Israeli billionaire and Vladimir Putin.

Tuchel is confident of fielding a competitive Chelsea team next season whatever happens this summer, but conceded the Blues will not have an easy ride in the market.

“It will not be easier; we wanted to compete and you could see that we could not compete over the long run, we could compete in periods, we can compete in direct matches,” said Tuchel.

“We struggled and, as you know, I was so happy with the structure that the club provides and the mentality Chelsea provides.

“That was, for me, always the foundation to strongly believe and genuinely believe ‘OK, we will push and keep on pushing’.

“With this now being questioned it’s getting more demanding, not difficult because I don’t know what’s coming so let’s see.

“But the key thing for me is that we keep the mentality in the building at least and in the club, the competitive mentality that was installed over more than a decade. It’s a bit concerning and hopefully we can find our way through it.

“The situation is not ideal. This is the situation. It would be challenging enough with a stable situation. We don’t have that – so everybody is doing it, at least I know, for the first time.

“And we try to show our commitment, our passion for it and this is maybe for me very important to give this message: I’m committed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m passionate about it.

“And as soon as we can act we will try to act and turn things around and make it from a disadvantage maybe an advantage. However, I don’t have the solution right now but we will try to stay positive about it.”

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