After taking charge of his first Borussia Dortmund game, coach Thomas Tuchel says the welcome he has received from the squad has made his start at Signal Iduna Park much easier.
Tuchel was confirmed as the replacement for long-serving coach Jurgen Klopp in April, with the former Mainz boss tasked with returning Dortmund to the upper reaches of the Bundesliga after a disappointing 2014-15.
While Klopp’s final season saw the club finish seventh, Dortmund did win two Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal during his reign.
However, Tuchel says his start has been made all the more seamless thanks to the welcome from his players.
“I have encountered a very polite, very considerate and very open team, which has opened its arms to the new situation and the new coaching staff at the club,” he said.
“We have all received a very warm welcome. That is the best feeling that you can possibly get when you start out with something new.”
Dortmund got the Tuchel reign up and running with a 5-0 friendly win over fifth-tier side Rhede on Friday – Ilkay Gundogan celebrating his new contract with a goal while Henrikh Mkhitaryan was also on target.
“It was a really demanding test for us because we weren’t in optimal condition, having trained very hard this week. But it served its purpose,” Tuchel added.
“We were well aware that we’d have a lot of ball possession. That’s why we put a real emphasis on our positional and passing play.
“It was important to bear the formation in mind and to get a feeling for when we need to occupy certain spaces. All in all, it was okay, even if at certain stages of the game we weren’t exactly fluid.
“The effort is there, the team are working really hard and is focused but the level of fluency or understanding isn’t quite there just yet.”