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Chelsea’s head coach Thomas Tuchel leaves the pitch after their Champions League defeat by Dinamo Zagreb at the Maksimir stadium in Croatia. Photo: AP

Chelsea sack Thomas Tuchel after Champions League defeat by Dinamo Zagreb

  • German head coach parts ways with Premier League club according to statement, just 15 months after he led them to glory in Europe
  • Tuesday’s loss was the London side’s third in five games, with Tuchel slamming a ‘lack of hunger’ from his players

Chelsea have sacked head coach Thomas Tuchel following Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat by Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

The loss in Croatia was the Premier League side’s third in five games, and came after they narrowly beat West Ham at Stamford Bridge last weekend with a controversial late VAR decision denying the visitors a point.

The 49-year-old German Tuchel’s sacking comes just six days after new owner Todd Boehly completed a record transfer window spend of £280 million (US$321.5 million).

“On behalf of everyone at Chelsea FC, the club would like to place on record its gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the club,” a statement said on Wednesday.

“Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea’s history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here.

Chelsea players leave the pitch after the loss to Dinamo Zagreb. Photo AP

“As the new ownership group reaches 100 days since taking over the club, and as it continues its hard work to take the club forward, the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.

“Chelsea’s coaching staff will take charge of the team for training and the preparation of our upcoming matches as the club moves swiftly to appoint a new head coach. There will be no further comment until a new head coach appointment is made.”

Chelsea face a West London derby at Fulham on Saturday in the Premier League, where they sit in sixth place with 10 points after six matches.

Tuchel led Chelsea to Champions League glory just over 15 months ago, defeating Manchester City 1-0 in the final having taken over from Frank Lampard in January 2021.

Chelsea players leave the pitch after their defeat in Zagreb. Photo: AP

He went on to claim two more trophies but suffered defeats on penalties by Liverpool in the League Cup and FA Cup final last season, and finished third in the Premier League.

There was a turbulent end to the campaign after the UK government placed sanctions on former owner Roman Abramovich amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with a consortium led by American billionaire Todd Boehly completing a takeover worth up to £4.25 billion (US$4.87 billion) in May.

The new owner backed former Borussia Dortmund and Paris St-Germain manager Tuchel in this summer’s transfer market, spending big on the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Tuchel had slammed his team for showing a lack of hunger in their defeat in Zagreb, saying he did not expect the performance.

Dinamo Zagreb players celebrate after beating Chelsea. Photo: Reuters

“I didn’t see it coming, obviously I was in the wrong movie,” Tuchel told reporters. “I thought that the last game helped us … I thought the team was prepared, I thought we know what this is all about.

“I don’t really know where this performance comes from. A lack of determination, a lack of hunger and a lack of intensity to actually do the things that we need at the highest level. We are clearly not where we want to be.

“I’m angry about our performance … It’s not precise enough, it’s not clinical enough, it’s not aggressive enough on the ball, it’s not determined enough. It’s not good enough individually, it’s not good enough as a team.”