Thomas Tuchel was grateful to have a match to focus on after Chelsea were plunged into uncertainty on Thursday with the freezing of club owner Roman Abramovich’s assets.
Chelsea were in Norfolk to face Norwich City, emerging with a 3-1 win thanks to a professional display led by Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.
But earlier in the day it was confirmed by the British government that Abramovich was among the latest high-profile Russian individuals and entities to be hit with sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich, who has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, was in the process of attempting to sell Chelsea, and the sanctions have put the sale in doubt despite the oligarch claiming the proceeds would have been donated to victims of the war.
While Chelsea have been granted a special sporting licence to continue operating as a football club, measures were placed upon them including a ban on selling merchandise and tickets to non-season-ticket holders.
It cast a shroud over Chelsea heading into Thursday’s game, but Tuchel feels the fact they were already preparing for a match helped the squad keep their focus away from off-field matters.
Tuchel told BeIN Sports: “It’s big news, huge impact of course, that’s why it’s big news. It is the subject of all the talk [in the squad].
“Normally we’d talk maybe about the Champions League games from yesterday but nobody talked about that, just the impacts of the new facts around the club.
“In the end it’s also nice to enter a fixed schedule approaching a match. So, there’s three-hours before [the game] we eat, and then we have a tactical meeting, then a set-piece meeting, then we go to the stadium.
“So, it helps you to focus because we’re used to it. In the end we cannot influence it, we did not cause the situation, so we allowed ourselves to enjoy the fact we’re here and are privileged to play football in the Premier League, and we wanted to show the best things.
“Sometimes it’s good to sweat it out, so we tried to work hard, tried to convince the team to work really hard together and that’s sometimes the best thing to get the focus back.”
Certain sections of the Chelsea support have criticised the media for asking Tuchel about off-field matters since Abramovich announced he had put the club up for sale.
There have been suggestions Tuchel should only be asked questions relating specifically to the football his team play, but the German appeared relaxed about having to answer about off-field topics.
“I would love to talk about sports but I understand [the media] have a lot of questions,” he continued.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know much more than you, maybe it’s the opposite, but we’re also an entertainment and that’s why it’s like this.”
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