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Tuchel says Chelsea will ‘stay strong’ despite Abramovich sale

Thomas Tuchel said Friday he is convinced that Chelsea “will stay a strong club” after Roman Abramovich’s dramatic announcement he is selling up following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian billionaire, alleged to have close links to President Vladimir Putin, said it was in the “best interest” of the Champions League holders if he cuts ties after 19 years at the helm.

Abramovich has not been named on a growing British sanctions list targeting Russian banks, businesses and tycoons following Putin’s attack on Ukraine last week.

But the 55-year-old’s concern about potential seizure of assets is understood to have sparked his move to off-load the Blues.

Chelsea have already reportedly received several serious bids, with Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss and American magnate Todd Boehly teaming up in a consortium offer.

Tuchel, who has led Chelsea to the Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup titles since arriving in January 2021, said Stamford Bridge remained the “perfect fit” for him despite the uncertain situation.

“I love working in the Premier League,” he said on the eve of his side’s Premier League match at struggling Burnley.

“I love to be in England and feel the tradition and the love for sports in general and football in particular. It’s an amazing place to be.

“Chelsea is from my point of view a perfect fit. I love to be here, I love everything about the club and hopefully it continues. There is now an uncertainty but isn’t it always as a football manager?”

Tuchel admitted the situation could affect his players but said everybody at the club, third in the Premier League, would react differently.

‘Highest level’

“I hope for the best outcome,” he said. “Still I think we have something to offer. Still I think Chelsea is a strong club and will stay a strong club.

“Our owner decided to sell the club but he sells a strong, solid and a very well-organised club on the highest level.”

Tuchel said the players and staff were briefed on the situation on Thursday by Petr Cech, Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor — a day after Abramovich’s announcement.

He admitted Cech could offer no assurances but said the focus would remain on results.

“It does not make sense to worry too much because we don’t have a lot of influence, not to say no influence at all, so that was the bottom line,” said the German.

“We are allowed to focus on football and do the best to focus on football.”

Tuchel spoke warmly about Abramovich’s legacy at Chelsea, a club that have won 19 major trophies since he took charge in 2003.

“It is exceptional, it speaks for itself,” he said. “He is the boss and he is a very, very passionate owner who cares actually about the team, about the club, about the performance personally, which is very rare and makes it very special.”

Chelsea’s 2-1 victory last month against Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi meant they had won every possible piece of silverware during Abramovich’s tenure.

“At least we closed this cycle for him and for his effort and his passion and commitment to the club,” said Tuchel. “So it was good timing on this matter.”

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