Thomas Tuchel acknowledges that Chelsea have had some catching up to do in the transfer market but feels the squad is now in a good place ahead of the Premier League season opener tomorrow at Everton tomorrow.
The Blues head coach has been working hard alongside chairman Todd Boehly and co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali in order to bolster the group, with Marc Cucurella the most recent addition from Brighton & Hove Albion.
That follows the signings of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Gabriel Slonina and Carney Chukwuemeka already in the summer window, a period of business that Tuchel has been pleased with despite the difficulties.
‘I would describe it as super hard-working and learning while new on the job,’ Tuchel said of our work in the window so far. ‘New ownership stepping straight into the transfer market is maybe one of the toughest things you can do when you come from outside but I have nothing but the biggest respect and compliments for both Todd and Behdad.
‘I don’t know when they sleep, maybe they never sleep. We have a very open, honest and direct line of communication and the transfers so far speak for themselves. We have a delay of course because of the sanctions.
‘Nobody is guilty for that and it led to the loss of key players but both of the owners who are involved in the daily business have done a fantastic job so far.’
On the field, it has been a mixed pre-season campaign in terms of results but more important than scorelines is fitness and form, which has been building steadily in recent weeks.
Tuchel’s time has been more divided than normal given the recruitment support he has been providing to the new owners. However, the German has been happy to help and play his part in a team effort towards self-improvement.
‘Frustrating is the wrong word but it was challenging and demanding time-wise,’ he said of the summer. ‘I was sometimes involved in things where I did not spend too much time normally before. My day is only 24 hours so sometimes I need to rely on my staff to do preparations for training.
‘I spent a lot of time with our new owners to align our thoughts and ideas, to discuss and re-discuss our opinions. I can do my job but some extra stuff came to it. With every day, we know each other better and the communication gets clearer.’
Since returning from the USA tour and our whistlestop trip to Italy for a friendly against Udinese, the group have been working hard at Cobham and Tuchel feels this has been important and vital work.
‘We are some steps further ahead,’ he continued. It was absolutely necessary, maybe it was also necessary to lose that game how we lost it against Arsenal, one of our big rivals in the league who is trying to take our place.
It was a wake-up call for everybody and since then we stepped up. As always, the last week before the season is always the time where you feel a new focus and excitement, the legs are fresher.
I think we’re not where we can be but let’s see. We feel ready and competitive for tomorrow. We had a very good training week so far and the atmosphere is back to where it was before the Arsenal game in the first weeks of pre-season.’
Our trip to Goodison Park could see a host of debuts, including up front where Raheem Sterling is in line to start on his return to Liverpool. Tuchel is open to the idea of deploying a flexible frontline this term and believes he has a host of options available to make that plan work.
‘If we play in the same structure with our three offensive players, I think it will be very fluid,’ he added. ‘Liverpool and Man City showed that it is possible to be very successful with a fluid type of offensive player in the number nine position.
‘It can be Kai, it can be Raheem, it can be Timo Werner, it can also be Armando Broja who is now in the squad so different profiles and different ways of playing.’