devastated | 

Thomas Tuchel issues emotional statement as leaks emerge surrounding his exit

Tuchel was sacked last Wednesday and replaced by Graham Potter in double quick time.

Thomas Tuchel was sacked by Chelsea© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Thomas Tuchel has issues a statement to confirm he is “devastated” by his sacking at Chelsea, as leaks continue to emerge over the reasons for his exit.

Tuchel was sacked last Wednesday and replaced by Graham Potter in double quick time, with Tuchel expressing his feelings over that decision in a statement on Twitter.

"This is one of the most difficult statements I have ever had to write - and it is one which I hoped I would not need to do for many years. I am devastated that my time at Chelsea has come to an end,” he wrote.

"This is a club where I felt at home, both professionally and personally. Thank you so much to all the staff, the players and the supporters for making me feel very welcome from the start.

The pride and joy I felt at helping the team to win the Champions League and the Club World Cup will stay with me forever. I am honoured to have been a part of this club’s history and the memories of the last 19 months will always have a special place in my heart."

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Tuchel’s comments highlight his anger at his sacking after bringing so much success to the club, yet leaks continue to emerge to suggest all was not well in the Chelsea camp long before his exit.

Club insiders have hinted that there were reservations over Tuchel’s relationship with senior players at the back end of last season, with the poor start to this season highlighting the cracks in his squad’s morale.

Tuchel is also believed to have had a strained relationship with senior Chelsea staff, with constant arguments over summer transfer targets further damaging those relationships.

In addition, Tuchel’s refusal to consider a deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United was a point of contention with the Chelsea owners, who decided to look for a new manager after the 2-1 defeat at Southampton last month.

Potter was always the first choice candidate to replace Tuchel and he penned an open letter to Brighton fans on Sunday asking for their forgiveness after his exit.

“This has been three wonderful years with a club that has changed my life and I want to take a moment to say goodbye to all of you who have made it such a special period of my career," he wrote.

“I bid farewell to a great club and one that will always mean so much to me and my family. For some I recognise that the change that comes so suddenly in football can be hard to accept.

“I may not be able to persuade you all to forgive my departure – but I would at least like to take the chance to say thank you.”

Former Ostersunds and Swansea boss Potter guided Brighton to ninth place in the Premier League last season – the club’s highest ever top-flight finish – and they sit fourth in the current table.

He said his players “went above and beyond” and paid tribute to the Seagulls’ fans, their board of directors and club staff.

“I hope that you will understand that at this stage of my career, I felt I had to grasp a new opportunity.

“I would like to thank (chairman) Tony Bloom, (chief executive) Paul Barber and the directors for the opportunity they gave me three years ago and then the unswerving support that came with it. My gratitude also to Dan Ashworth and David Weir, two first-class technical directors.”

Potter said he and the club had shared “some brilliant moments”, citing wins against Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United, and congratulated his successor at the club, “whoever that may be”.

He added: “Albion fans know that with Tony, Paul and David, the club is in safe hands.

“To my successor, whoever that may be, I would say, ‘congratulations’. You’ll be working for a great club with a fantastic squad, supported by a great chairman and board.

“The squad are playing at a high level and will get better. Most of all, the supporters will get behind the team home and away.

“To everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion: thank you. It has been a pleasure and honour to serve the club over the last three years. I wish you every success going forward.”

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