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Water under the Bridge: Chelsea boss Tuchel says ‘no need for Abramovich to apologize to him’ for Super League fiasco

Chelsea were among the 12 rebel teams to rock world football at the start of the week when they declared they were breaking away to form a new European Super League.

After a massive backlash from fans, the media, and governing bodies UEFA and FIFA, the six English clubs involved in the venture backed down, starting with Chelsea and Manchester City.

The west London club saw large fan protests outside their Stamford Bridge home before they played Brighton on Tuesday night, which included supporters blocking the team bus as it attempted to enter the stadium.

Anger turned to jubilation after the news broke that owner Abramovich had ordered the Blues hierarchy to prepare procedures for them to pull out of the doomed project.

After Chelsea were held at home 0-0 against Brighton, Tuchel admitted that his team had been disrupted by the furor heading into the match.  

“I was affected so I think the players were affected,” Tuchel had said. “We talk of nothing else but Super League before the match.

“Nobody asked about the match before. It is like this. You have to accept the distraction. We tried to create an atmosphere to win the game but could not.”

Tuchel’s team were held to a draw against Brighton on Tuesday. © Reuters

Chelsea were vilified along with the other 12 clubs for going along with the project in the first place, even though they were said to have been reluctant to join and had only done so at a late stage.

Abramovich at least emerged with some credit for moving swiftly to reverse the damage, and has escaped some of the opprobrium aimed at officials at other clubs, including the American owners of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

At the latter of those clubs, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta revealed this week that owner Stan Kroenke had apologized to him for the chaotic past few days.

When asked on Friday whether Abramovich had done the same with him, or if he was expecting the famously secretive Russian to reach out, Tuchel said there was no need for the gesture.

“No, nobody needs to apologize,” the 47-year-old German said at a press conference ahead of the crunch Premier League meeting with top-four rivals West Ham on Saturday.     

“I have not spoken to the owner since I arrived which is absolutely not a problem.

“But I was in a dialogue with the club before and after the match [against Brighton] and so I was informed that we were pulling out, and that was pretty much all I needed to prepare the next match against West Ham.

“But it’s all already in the past and I don’t think they need to apologize to me,” he added.

Abramovich has noted spoken to Tuchel since naming him manager. © Reuters

Chelsea fans’ anger over the Super League misadventure appears to have largely been directed at figures at the club other than billionaire oligarch Abramovich.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust named chairman Bruce Buck as being among the sources of their anger.

When Tuchel was asked about the notion that fans’ sentiments towards Abramovich might be affected, he played down that suggestion.

“I don’t think that it affects in general the opinion on what our owner does for the club, for the community, does for the women’s team, for the academy and the senior team,” he said.

Chelsea announced on Friday that the club was freezing general admission season ticket and matchday prices for next season, as well as confirming plans for “significant upgrades” to Stamford Bridge.

That step, however, was promptly accused of being an attempt to placate fans and a cynical bid to repair the damage done in recent days.

Since Abramovich took over in 2003, Chelsea have enjoyed the most successful period in their history, winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the UEFA Champions League and two UEFA Europa League crowns.

This season they are into the Champions League semi-finals, where they face Real Madrid.   

© 2021, paradox. All rights reserved.

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