KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Thomas Tuchel has said he is “still happy” to be Chelsea’s manager as he ensued his team maintained focus in the wake of UK sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich which have a direct effect on the club’s operations.
The sanctions saw Abramovich’s assets frozen along with prohibitions on “transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions”.
Tuchel, speaking shortly before the Blues’ 3-1 Premier League win at Norwich, said: “I don’t know if I’m concerned but we are aware of it and it changes almost every day. We cannot do much about it.
“I’m still happy to be here, still happy to be manager of a strong football team and I’m happy to play the match today. I know there’s a lot of noise around and still we allow ourselves to try our best to focus on football.”
Asked whether playing was a relief for him and his players given the day’s events, Tuchel said: “Relief would mean we struggle with all the information and the news out there.
“It is quite a big change from yesterday to today, but we cannot influence it. We didn’t cause the situation. In the moment, it seems like business – football-wise – is more or less protected. But let’s see – it can change tomorrow.
“It’s not a relief, it’s more personally for me a joy. Even in situations where noise or circumstances are so obvious, I feel privileged to have the chance to be involved in games and coaching football, which I love.”
Inevitably, speculation will gather about Tuchel’s future.
The government has granted the club a special licence to allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches.
However, Chelsea cannot offer new contracts to players or staff, conduct any transfer business or sell new tickets to matches as things stand.
Chelsea beat bottom club Norwich easily at Carrow Road. Mason Mount scored one goal and made another as travelling fans chanted the name of Abramovich.
The team raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 15 minutes on their way to a fourth successive league win.
Trevoh Chalobah opened the scoring in the third minute after meeting Mason Mount’s corner before Kai Havertz set up England’s Mount for his eighth goal of the season.
Norwich were much better after half-time and Teemu Pukki gave his side hope from the penalty spot after Chalobah handled, but Havertz sealed the points with a late third for Chelsea.
The win strengthened Chelsea’s grip on third spot while leaving Norwich five points from safety.