Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has met owner Roman Abramovich for the first time and is confident he will be offered a new deal after winning the Champions League in his first six months at the club.
Chelsea turned a season of turmoil into the ultimate triumph as Kai Havertz’s ice-cool finish sunk Manchester City 1-0 to secure Champions League glory in Porto.
In just 124 days, Tuchel has transformed Frank Lampard’s muddled men into mean tactical machines – and champions of Europe.
The 47-year-old arrived from Paris Saint-Germain in January with a fiery reputation but has reinvented himself as a taskmaster with a joyful spirit and a tendency to tease the best from his players.
Tuchel insisted he did not fear the brevity of his 18-month contract on his arrival at Chelsea, admitting even a five-year deal would not save his skin should he underperform.
But the German revealed following his first meeting with Abramovich on the pitch at the Estadio do Dragao that a new contract is in the offing.
“I’m not even 100 per cent sure, but maybe I have already a new contract with that win,” Tuchel said. “My manager said something about it. I did not know, but let’s check this first. I spoke to the owner (Roman Abramovich) right now on the pitch, which was the best moment for a first meeting!
“…Or the worst as from now on, it can only get worse! We will speak tomorrow, we will speak later, but I’m looking forward to this.
“I can assure him that I will stay hungry, that I want the next title and I feel absolutely happy as a part of a really ambitious club and a strong part of a really strong group that suits my beliefs and suits my passion about football at the moment perfectly. My desire is to go for more victories and my desire is to grow as a coach. My desire is to push the group from the first day of the next season to the limit.
“We have work to do and we have to close the gap. This is what I am all about so it will be nice to meet him a bit closer. We’re in constant contact but not personal. He knows what’s going on from me directly but now it’s nice to meet him.”
Pep Guardiola fielded a surprise pivotless midfield in a bid to catch out Tuchel and the Blues, but the move backfired and City paid the price.
Guardiola has spent five years honing City for European dominance, but that frustrating wait goes on.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss last won the Champions League in 2011, the year before Chelsea’s first European triumph. Guardiola will keep grinding, but Tuchel – who lost the final last season with PSG against Bayern Munich – has once again got one over City’s Catalan coach.
“To share it with everybody is incredible,” Tuchel added. “I don’t know what to feel. I was so grateful to arrive a second time [in the final]. I felt different. We were somehow… You could feel it getting closer.
“The [players] were determined to win this. We wanted to be a stone in their shoe. We encouraged everybody to step up and step out, to be more brave and create dangerous counter-attacks.”
Havertz: I’ve waited 15 years for this moment
Chelsea goalscorer Kai Havertz:
“I don’t know what to say. I really don’t know what to say. I waited a long time.
“Now I want to thank my family, my parents, my grandmother and my girlfriend. I don’t know what to say.
“I’ve waited 15 years for this moment and now it’s here.”
Chilwell: This is why I came to Chelsea
Chelsea wing-back Ben Chilwell described victory as a dream come true, saying it is the reason why he joined the club last summer.
“We fought so hard today,” he said. “We knew it would be a tough game. The second half… we fought for our lives to get to this moment, to have this feeling.
“This is what I came to Chelsea for. It’s a dream come true.
He added: “The key was to get tight and be aggressive. I was getting tired as the game went on but when the Champions League is up for grabs, you don’t really tire.
“Everyone defended for their lives. We’ve won the Champions League so I wouldn’t even care how we played!”
“This means a lot. I came here in 2012 after the Champions League win and of course I wanted to repeat that. Tonight it’s just amazing. My family is here and it’s just a special day.”
Mount: We’re the best in the world
Mason Mount claimed Chelsea could now call themselves the best team in the world after his dreams as a young kid came true following their Champions League success.
“I’ve dreamt as a kid of going all the way, making a final and winning it,” the England international said. “That’s what this cup’s all about.
“I’ve been there as a kid, now to go all the way in the Champions League, through some tough games – we’ve played some top teams – and now we’re in a final and we’ve won, it’s such a special occasion.
“At this moment in time, we’re the best team in the world and you can’t take that away from us.”
Mount also paid tribute to the beaten City side.
“City – what a team they are,” he added. “They’re very hard to prepare for. You don’t know what you’re going to get. They have top, top players and it’s such a tough game.
“They gave it everything, just like us. My celebrations after the game were cut short because I went over to them. I know what they’ve given.
“They deserved to be here because of what they’ve done this season.”
Guardiola: We will come back one day
Meanwhile, it was disappointment for Man City as they fell at the final hurdle of their quest to win the Champions League for the first time.
A deflated Pep Guardiola defended selecting Ilkay Gundogan as a holding midfielder, despite the switch causing his side clear problems.
He said: “I did my best in the selection. I made the best selection to win the game, the players know it.
“I think Gundogan played well. We missed a little in the first half to break the lines, but in the second half it was much better. It was a tight game but we had enormous chances.”
Kevin de Bruyne trudged off with a painful-looking facial injury after clattering into Toni Rudiger, but Guardiola downplayed the severity of the issue.
“I don’t know about the pain he has in his face, I didn’t see him or speak to the doctor. But hopefully, hopefully it will not be a big problem.”
Guardiola has lost more matches – eight – against Chelsea in all competitions than against any other club, losing his last three in a row against the Blues.
Indeed, the only other sides that he has lost three in a row against in his managerial career are Real Madrid (2012-14) and Liverpool (2018). But the City boss has vowed his side will come back stronger from the setback.
“It’s an exceptional season we’ve had,” he added. “It is an honour to be here. Today we are sad but when we analyse it was a successful season for us.
“In the second half, we were brilliant and brave. But they defend so strong and are so fast on the counter-attack.
“We didn’t allow them to make the process to play, the players were exceptional, all of them, and we will come back again, maybe, one day.”
What’s next? Euros, transfer window, 2021/22 key dates
Euro 2020 kicks off on Friday June 11 – just 19 days after the conclusion of the 2020/21 Premier League season – and runs until Sunday July 11.
The 2021/22 Premier League campaign will start on the weekend of Saturday August 14 – 34 days after that Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
Clubs will be able to start planning for the new term when the top-flight fixtures are released at 9am on Wednesday, June 16 but transfer business can start in earnest before then, with the summer transfer window opening on Wednesday June 9.
The 2021/22 Championship season begins a week before the top-flight one on the weekend of Saturday August 7. All Sky Bet EFL fixtures will be announced at 9am on Thursday June 24.