'Anyone Chelsea get is a downgrade on Tuchel' – Ferdinand says decision does not make sense

By Sports Desk September 07, 2022

Any manager who Chelsea hire now will be a downgrade on Thomas Tuchel, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Former Manchester United and England star Ferdinand insists Chelsea’s decision to sack Tuchel, which was announced on Wednesday, does not make sense.

The German was appointed as the successor to club legend Frank Lampard in January 2021 and promptly led Chelsea to Champions League glory in his first season.

More success followed in the form of trophies in the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup, but Tuchel also lost two FA Cup finals and an EFL Cup showpiece during his tenure.

A slow start to this season continued on Tuesday with a shock 1-0 Champions League defeat away to Dinamo Zagreb.

But Ferdinand feels new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly – who was a big spender in the transfer window – has acted too soon in dismissing the former Paris Saint-Germain head coach.

Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel: "Anybody who comes in now, you would think it is a downgrade on Tuchel and his resume. 

"He is a proper manager. All the players I speak to talk positively about him. He is honest and direct. He has clarity on how he wants to play. 

"I can't understand it. It doesn't make sense to me.

"Tuchel has a 60 per cent win rate. A lot of managers would be delighted to have that. 

"Chelsea have set their stall out now and said, 'This is us now'. It's a giant statement from Todd Boehly and his new regime. It leads you to the point, where will they go?"

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter has emerged as an early frontrunner to replace Tuchel.

Whether or not he takes the Chelsea job now, Ferdinand believes Potter is destined to move to a top team at some stage.

The former United defender added: "Potter has done a fantastic job. I think he will be someone called by bigger clubs than Brighton with due respect. But would he take it? 

"When he went to Brighton their style of football changed immediately. He has a clear identity.

"I think on the grass he will be great in that sense. The questions are would he be able to handle the experienced players? 

"In terms of handling big players and egos, there are a nucleus of young players there who would warm to him immediately."

Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino are also among the early mooted contenders to replace Tuchel.

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    The world's second-ranked side suffered a surprise elimination in Qatar after finishing third in Group F following a goalless draw with Croatia.

    It brought the curtain down on a poor tournament for 2018 semi-finalists Belgium, who struggled past Canada in their opening game before suffering a shock defeat by eventual group winners Morocco.

    The Croatia stalemate also spelt the end for Martinez, who confirmed his departure as Belgium head coach after six years in the role.

    "We were ourselves today," he reflected. "We had very good performances and frustrated Croatia in the first half, but couldn't take chances in the second half.

    "We got in very good positions, but didn't execute them well. Second half, we looked strong and probably created more clear-cut chances than in 2018.

    "We showed heart, and we saw a group that really cares, which we missed in previous two games - we weren't ourselves [in the first two games].

    "Due to quality and experience, we won the first game [against Canada], but we were not ourselves. Today was completely different.

    "Morocco was disappointing, and we're out of the World Cup because margins are small - there's no margin for error. Morocco took their chances and Croatia now rightly progress through. It's a huge disappointment for us."

    Martinez also explained his reasons for Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, who was only introduced in the 87th minute at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, starting Belgium's must-win showdown on the bench.

    It came after a tumultuous week, in which he dismissed reports of a rift within the camp as "fake news" at his pre-match news conference.

    "Lukaku couldn't play the 90. We saw in the second half, he lacked physicality," Martinez said. 

    "We used him where there were bigger gaps and got him in the box. He moved well and got in good positions, but missed chances.

    "I'm happy with the way we planned for this game. The players that started gave us what we wanted, and then we could have scored three goals in second half, and it would have been a different story.

    "We were here for seven games and couldn't take a risk on players, it would not have been responsible to play [Lukaku] from the start, same with Eden Hazard."

    Much of the discussion surrounding Belgium's underwhelming campaign in Qatar has focused on the ageing of a so-called 'golden generation' of players, with Kevin De Bruyne stating the Red Devils' squad was "too old" ahead of the finals.

    Defender Toby Alderweireld insisted the senior players within the squad are yet to make a decision on their futures.

    "I think as a team, you have to take the responsibility," he added. "I think we played a very good game. We could have won.

    "I think we lost the qualification in the last game against Morocco. If we didn't lose this game, it was a total different game. This is the reality. It hurts.

    "It's not every year that there's a tournament. We'll see what everyone is doing, but I think it's too close to the last game to decide.

    "Everyone goes home now, goes to their club and decides what they're going to do. This hurts, it's normal, but decisions are not made after the game."

  • Cameroon v Brazil: Much-changed Selecao pursuing group-stage perfection Cameroon v Brazil: Much-changed Selecao pursuing group-stage perfection

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    "Being first is always the goal, regardless of who the opponent is in the next match," said Fabinho, one of the men set to come into the XI.

    "Our focus is always to win the games, try to earn nine points and give our best. 

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    Tite's first-choice stars have set a high standard, winning both games without conceding or even facing a single shot on target. They are the first team not to face a shot on target in their first two games at a World Cup since France in 1998.

    "Personally, I don't think [maintaining the standard] brings pressure to us," added Fabinho. "I think playing in a World Cup is every player's dream. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

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    Cameroon have lost only two World Cup matches to South American teams, but both have been in their two meetings with Brazil, who have won all seven of their finals clashes with African opposition, scoring 20 goals and conceding just two.

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    Cameroon – Vincent Aboubakar

    Aboubakar has twice appeared from the bench, yet he could hardly have done more to earn a starting berth. Against Serbia, he became the first substitute to both score and assist a goal in a World Cup match for an African nation, bringing Cameroon back from 3-1 down to 3-3 within 11 minutes of his introduction.

    Brazil – Vinicius Junior

    The Selecao may not need to risk playing Vinicius, with Neymar already injured, but it must be tough not to pick a man in this form. Only Kylian Mbappe (23) was involved in more open play sequences that ended with a shot than the winger (15) through two matchdays. Only Mbappe and Ismaila Sarr (four) created more chances following a carry (three).

    PREDICTION

    Even with the potential for changes in the Brazil XI, the supercomputer has no doubts about this one. Tite's men are massive 72.7 per cent favourites.

    Cameroon must win but are given only a 10.6 per cent chance, with a draw that would confirm Brazil as group winners rated at 16.7 per cent.

  • Serbia v Switzerland: Milinkovic-Savic happy with must-win situation Serbia v Switzerland: Milinkovic-Savic happy with must-win situation

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    Dragan Stojkovic's side have taken just one point from their two games so far, coming in a 3-3 draw against Cameroon last time out, but are still in with a chance of going through, although they need Cameroon to lose to Brazil.

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    They find themselves in a perilous position but Milinkovic-Savic insists it is not a surprise. Asked if he would have taken this situation beforehand, he said: "Of course. When we saw the draw and the schedule, we knew that everything would depend on the last game.

    "We need to take this opportunity with both hands."

    Serbia's draw with Cameroon was arguably an opportunity lost given they were leading 3-1 in the second half.

    Captain Dusan Tadic said: "It's certainly hard because we led 3-1 and you're not happy when you end up with a draw.

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    He said: "We’ll have to find the right balance. I think we can be the dominant team, we’ve proven that in the past. It will be exciting, we'll need a good start. 

    "As a head coach, you can’t send out a team and tell them a draw is enough.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Serbia - Aleksandar Mitrovic

    The Fulham striker produced a mixed performance in the draw with Cameroon. While he was a nuisance all afternoon and scored a goal, he failed to capitalise on many of the chances that came his way. Twice in the first half he should have done better while he also missed another clear opportunity in the closing stages.

    He will need to improve markedly if Serbia are to get the win they require.

    Switzerland - Yann Sommer

    A clean sheet would likely guarantee Switzerland's progression, and Yakin will be reassured by the fact he can count on one of the tournament's in-form goalkeepers.

    Only two men have made more saves than Sommer's nine, the Netherlands' Andries Noppert (albeit from three matches rather than Sommer's two) and his opposite number on Friday, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic (12).


    PREDICTION

    Stats Perform's AI model believes all three outcomes are a distinct possibility with little to separate them.

    Serbia are ranked a 39 per cent chance to claim the three points they require, with Switzerland a 34.6 per cent chance. A draw comes in at 26.4 per cent. As is often the case, it will come down to fine margins - a mistake or a moment of genius.

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