Jules Kounde opted to join Barcelona over Chelsea as he "preferred Xavi's speech" to Thomas Tuchel's.

The France international had looked set to sign for Chelsea during the most recent transfer window, only to put pen to paper on a five-year deal at Camp Nou.

Sevilla director of football Monchi suggested at the time that Barca pounced for Kounde after Chelsea had withdrawn their offer due to "having doubts".

However, in an interview with French outlet L'Equipe, Kounde insisted the decision was his own after being wooed by Barca head coach Xavi.

"First, I have come to a huge club, which has known good times and which, lately, has had less," he said.

"I come to a project that I would not call reconstruction, because we already have a competitive team, but rather, being upturned.

"I was interested in being part of this new wave, in search of titles, and to put Barca back where it has always been, among the best clubs. 

"Then there was the conversation with the coach. We talked about football. I felt a real confidence from him, that he had a real knowledge of myself, my game and my qualities.

"I spoke with Tuchel and I also felt that he wanted me to come, but I simply preferred Xavi's speech."

Chelsea have made a slow start to the 2022-23 season and recently brought an end to Tuchel's 20-month tenure.

Despite their high-profile financial issues, meanwhile, Barca have made a strong start to their campaign and are two points off LaLiga leaders Real Madrid after six matches.

Kounde was registered by Barcelona at the end of August, a month after joining, and has helped the Catalan giants to four clean sheets in his five appearances.

Indeed, the five clean sheets Barca have kept in their opening six league matches is a tally they did not reach until 21 games played last season.

And Kounde, one of two defenders alongside team-mate Alejandro Balde to have provided two assists in a single LaLiga match this term, believes he is well suited to Xavi's style.

"When I talked to Xavi he told me that my qualities correspond to his game plan, starting from the back, playing high, using my qualities of speed and anticipation," Kounde said. 

"He also wants an aggressive team – we are one of the teams that presses high.

"He saw me in this system and I too saw myself in this team that I saw make a pretty crazy rise in the table last season. 

"With Sevilla we were 15 points ahead of them in the middle of the season. Xavi arrived and I saw the changes he made and what direction he was going in. I liked it."

Kepa Arrizabalaga has vowed to seize the chance of a "fresh start" at Chelsea after the appointment of Graham Potter.

The Spanish goalkeeper was dislodged as Chelsea's first choice by Edouard Mendy when the Senegal international joined from Rennes in September 2020, and he has played a bit-part in the first team ever since.

Kepa played just 15 games last season, including two appearances as a substitute, but posted an impressive save percentage of 80.8, with Mendy managing just 70.8 per cent in his 49 games.

Mendy began this season as Thomas Tuchel's preferred choice between the sticks, but the sacking of the German head coach and subsequent appointment of Potter may mean there is a clean slate.

Now Kepa is hoping there is a chance for him to assert himself as a contender to keep the jersey, after playing in back-to-back Champions League games due to Mendy being injured.

"Last season, when I played I felt really well, but it was just 15 games or something like this," Kepa said, quoted on Chelsea's website. "It's not a big amount, so now when I have the opportunity, I try to do my best and to help the team like I do in the last games.

"I'm happy with my performances and happy again to enjoy the Champions League games on the pitch, so it's a fresh start, and I'm happy, and I will take it."

Chelsea have begun their European campaign with a 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb, followed by a home 1-1 draw with Salzburg in Potter's first game, so results could be better.

The Salzburg result on Wednesday was a blow, given Chelsea led their Austrian visitors but were pegged back by a Noah Okafor equaliser.

"There is frustration a little bit because we drew when we needed these points," Kepa said, "but we are improving, and it's just the beginning."

The arrival of Potter from Brighton and Hove Albion has come at a time when Chelsea's Premier League campaign has been put on hold, with fixtures against Fulham and Liverpool postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It means the head coach must wait for his first league game at the helm, which should come at Crystal Palace on October 1. In the meantime, Potter is working behind the scenes on trying to lift the team.

Kepa said: "He is very positive in his mind, and he tries to give us this positivity. It's been two or three training sessions with the new manager, so it's just the beginning, but it's been a positive beginning and a good point to start."

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho says the dismissal of Thomas Tuchel came as a "surprise", revealing the Blues' players feel partly responsible for his exit.

The German coach was axed last week in the aftermath of a surprise defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, which followed on from Premier League losses against Southampton and Leeds United during an underwhelming start to the season.

Chelsea moved quickly to appoint Graham Potter as Tuchel's successor at Stamford Bridge, with their first game under his guidance coming on Wednesday against Salzburg.

With last week's Premier League action postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Tuesday's pre-match news conference represented the first opportunity for questions on the managerial change.

Jorginho conceded it is something he has become accustomed to, with Potter the fourth Chelsea boss he has worked under, but says he was caught off guard by the latest switch.

"It's happening a lot, as everyone knows. We're adapting to the new coach, we're very excited to work with him and his staff. It's been quite good the first few days," he said.

"Of course, we had a great time with Thomas, we appreciate everything he did for us, for the club, for the fans, now we have a new challenge to look forward to and we're very excited.

"It was a surprise for everyone. What has been said between the players will stay there, sorry.

"There's always talking around what has happened, but now we have games coming and life is quick, so we don't have much time to stay and think. We need to concentrate on what we need to do."

Jorginho was then asked about Tuchel's repeated criticism of the team in the build-up to his departure, and the midfielder admitted there is work to do.

"It was his feeling, he said that to us as well. We tried to do what we could, we tried to do our best, it's what we do," he added.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't working anymore and the challenge now is to rebuild the confidence because Chelsea are a big club, we have a lot of work to do and to do that we need to work with everyone moving in the same direction.

"Of course, we feel responsible, we were a team, it's not one person who is responsible for what happened, everyone is responsible."

Thomas Tuchel was left "devastated" by his Chelsea dismissal, as he thanked the club's players and fans for their support in a heartfelt social media post on Sunday.

Chelsea sacked Tuchel in the aftermath of a 1-0 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday, announcing Brighton and Hove Albion's Graham Potter as his successor the following day.

Tuchel led Chelsea to Champions League glory just four months after his January 2021 appointment. He then added the Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies last season, as well as overseeing penalty shoot-out defeats to Liverpool in both of the EFL and FA Cup last season

Despite outspending every other Premier League club in the recent transfer window, however, Chelsea took just 10 points from their opening six games of the new Premier League season, prompting the club's new owners – led by Todd Boehly – to make a change.

Tuchel has now expressed his regret at lasting less than two years in the Stamford Bridge dugout, writing 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.

"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."

Tuchel oversaw 100 games as Chelsea boss in all competitions, winning 60. In the Premier League, meanwhile, only Antonio Conte (68.8) Jose Mourinho (66) and Carlo Ancelotti (63.2) have bettered Tuchel's win rate of 55.6 per cent when leading the Blues for a minimum of 50 matches.

In 589 days in charge of Chelsea, Tuchel led the club to four major finals (2x FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League) – no coach has taken charge of the Blues in more finals, with Mourinho also leading them to four.

Chelsea also kept 49 clean sheets in Tuchel's 100 matches at the helm, the highest tally among Premier League clubs during that time (in all competitions).

For all his early successes, however, Tuchel oversaw a noticeable decline in the second half of his tenure.

In all competitions, Tuchel's first 50 games yielded 32 victories, 11 draws and seven defeats, with just 24 goals conceded. In the subsequent 50, Chelsea managed fewer wins (28) and over double the amount of goals conceded (53).

Chelsea have reportedly held an emergency call with new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to reassure him of his future with the club after Thomas Tuchel's surprise sacking.

Tuchel was removed from his position after Chelsea's 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener, in a move that will carry a heavy financial cost, according to reports from the Daily Mail and The Mirror.

Tuchel and his backroom staff are said to be receiving £15million in pay-outs, and Brighton are set to claim £20m in compensation after Graham Potter took over.

One of the main selling points for Aubameyang to come to Stamford Bridge was his relationship with Tuchel, who had coached him at Borussia Dortmund, and the Telegraph claims Chelsea's ownership group went out of their way to reassure the 33-year-old striker about his decision after cutting ties with Tuchel.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA OWNERS REASSURE AUBAMEYANG OF HIS ROLE AFTER TUCHEL FIRING

According to the Telegraph's report, controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Egbali addressed the Chelsea squad on Wednesday after Tuchel's sacking took place that morning, but there was also a separate individual chat with Aubameyang.

They reportedly told the signing from Barcelona that they "believe he can flourish under new head coach Graham Potter", and the Gabon international is said to have no second thoughts about his decision.

While he was clearly a player Tuchel pushed for, Aubameyang was assured he was "a club signing", and the report claims he "is thought to have been appreciative of the explanation".

In his one game for Chelsea under Tuchel, Aubameyang was substituted in the 59th minute.

 

ROUND-UP

– BILD has confirmed once again that Liverpool have their sights set on a massive move for Borussia Dortmund's 19-year-old English midfielder Jude Bellingham in 2023. 

– A report from Sport claims the rise of 18-year-old Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde has complicated the arrival of Marcos Alonso, who was brought in to be the main competition to Jordi Alba, but he is now behind Balde as well.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk wants a move to Arsenal alongside his Ukrainian compatriot Oleksandr Zinchenko, and that it could be possible in January.

– JuveLive claim Juventus are prepared to offer 22-year-old striker Moise Kean to Aston Villa in a straight swap for 24-year-old midfielder Douglas Luiz.

Graham Potter pledged to develop a team Chelsea's fans can be proud of after succeeding Thomas Tuchel as the Blues' head coach on Thursday.

Chairman Todd Boehly made the decision to part company with Tuchel amid an underwhelming start to the new campaign on Wednesday, and has turned to Potter in his search for a replacement.

After leading Brighton and Hove Albion to 13 points from their first six games of the Premier League campaign, Potter has signed a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge

Speaking to the club's website upon his appointment, Potter expressed his excitement at the making the step up while also thanking his former employers. 

"I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club," he said.

"I am very excited to partner with Chelsea's new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of. 

"I would also like to place my sincere thanks to Brighton and Hove Albion for allowing me this opportunity and in particular Tony Bloom and all the players, staff and supporters for their continued support during my time at the club."

Brighton expressed their gratitude for Potter's efforts in a statement of their own, with chairman Bloom saying: "I am very disappointed that Graham will be leaving us. 

"He has done exceptionally well over the past three-and-a-bit seasons, he is an exceptional head coach and an exceptional person. He will be hugely missed at our football club. 

"He leaves an excellent legacy for his successor with the club in its highest ever position, and on the back of leading us to our highest finish in the club's history last season."

Having overseen Ostersunds' rise from the fourth tier of Swedish football to European qualification in his first coaching role, Potter impressed by leading Championship outfit Swansea City to the FA Cup quarter-finals in a single season in Wales in 2018-19.

Having been appointed as Brighton's head coach in 2019, Potter transformed the Seagulls' style of play and led them to a ninth-placed Premier League finish last term.

Only Manchester City and Liverpool won possession in the final third more often than Brighton among Premier League clubs last season, while only the division's top three (City, Liverpool and Chelsea) recorded fewer than their 11 defeats.

Potter inherits a Chelsea side which was strengthened significantly in the recent transfer window, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among their high-profile additions.

When Graham Potter landed his first managerial role in the fourth tier of Swedish football in January 2011, few would have expected him to be leading one of the Premier League's elite teams within little over a decade.

But after overseeing Brighton and Hove Albion's fine start to the Premier League season, Potter has stepped up to succeed Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea.

It remains to be seen how Potter, a coach with high potential, fares with new owner Todd Boehly but his arrival in west London marks the culmination of one of the most intriguing coaching journeys in recent memory.

From Ostersunds to Chelsea, Potter's rise has been Football Manager-esque.

Here, Stats Perform delves into his coaching career to date and what it could mean for the Blues.

From humble beginnings: The stunning journey at Ostersunds

Having featured prominently for the likes of West Brom, York City and Macclesfield Town during a playing career spent entirely in England, Potter made the unconventional move to Scandinavia in 2011.

Potter, whose previous coaching experience took in roles at the University of Hull and Leeds Metropolitan University, was recommended to Ostersunds by Graeme Jones, then Roberto Martinez's assistant at Swansea.

They would not regret taking him on. Within seven years, Potter was masterminding Europa League wins against Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin, and most noticeably of all, Arsenal.

Having led the side to three promotions in five seasons, Potter oversaw a terrific Svenska Cupen triumph in 2017, earning the chance to face some of Europe's biggest names.

That 2-1 success at the Emirates in February 2018 put Potter on the map, despite Arsene Wenger's men triumphing 4-2 on aggregate at the end of their round-of-32 tie. 

Despite his limited resources, Potter became the first English manager to beat the Gunners in a European tie at the Emirates Stadium, while Ostersunds were the first Swedish team to win away at an English side since 1995, earning him a move to Wales. 

Making waves on the Welsh coast: Reinvigorating Swansea

Swansea City were considered one of the Premier League's best-run clubs for much of their seven-year spell among the top flight between 2011 and 2018.  

But the team inherited by Potter was not built for an immediate promotion challenge following their relegation that May. Having let several key men leave, their biggest outlay in Potter's first transfer window was the £3million signing of Manchester City youngster Bersant Celina.

Potter's men may have finished some nine points adrift of a Championship play-off spot, but a run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, where they suffered a controversial 3-2 defeat to City after going two goals up, put the tactician on the radar of Premier League clubs.  

Despite only enjoying one season in Wales, Potter was key to the early development of the likes of Dan James and Joe Rodon, both of whom went on to join top-six clubs. 

When a Premier League side were in the mood to change their style of play in 2019, Potter's sterling work in Wales put him high on their shortlist.

Seagulls soar to new heights: Potter in the Premier League

In the 2018-19 season, Chris Hughton's Brighton staved off relegation by just two points, scoring a mere 35 league goals across a dull campaign.

Potter's subsequent arrival at the club was not universally welcomed, with several pundits highlighting his lack of experience at the top level, but he quickly made them eat their words.

Although finishes of 15th and 16th in his first two campaigns may not have demonstrated obvious progress, Potter's ability to implement a progressive style was clear: having averaged 41 per cent possession in Hughton's final season, Brighton averaged 52 per cent the following year. 

But the 2021-22 campaign saw Potter conduct some of his finest work to date, masterminding a ninth-place finish while losing only 11 games. Only Liverpool (two), City (three) and Chelsea (six) were beaten on fewer occasions. 

In addition to the top three, only Tottenham and Wolves posted better defensive records than Brighton last term, and their high-press style was demonstrated by the fact only Liverpool and City won possession in the final third more often than the Seagulls.

On Sunday, Brighton's outstanding start to the new season went up a level, as they scored five goals in a top-flight match for the first time (in 364 outings) to blow Leicester City away.

But the Seagulls have now fallen victim to their own successes, with Potter unable to resist the advances of Chelsea.

London calling: Can Potter's methods work at Chelsea?

New owners often like to bring in their own coach upon taking charge of a club and, in that sense, Boehly's decision to dispense with Tuchel makes some sense – though doing so mere days after the end of a busy transfer window has attracted justifiable criticism.

Roman Abramovich's Chelsea tenure was characterised by success in the absence of an on-pitch identity, winning trophy after trophy despite a plethora of coaches, sackings and controversies.

If a more progressive, long-term approach is Boehly's aim, then Potter's past work suggests he could be the perfect man for the job.

Chelsea dismissed Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday following their 1-0 Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

New Blues owner Todd Boehly wielded the axe after a slow start to the 2022-23 season for the London club.

Several names have been linked with the vacant post already, including Mauricio Pochettino and Graham Potter.

TOP STORY – VERBAL AGREEMENT IN PLACE FOR CHELSEA AND POTTER

Chelsea will formally offer their vacant manager role to Brighton and Hove Albion's Graham Potter, according to several UK reports.

Brighton had granted Chelsea permission to speak to Potter, with the two parties locked in talks on Wednesday evening following Thomas Tuchel's dismissal.

Ben Jacobs from CBS Sports claims that a verbal agreement is agreed between Chelsea and Potter, with Sky Sports' Rob Dorsett stating he could be unveiled as their new boss on Thursday.

ROUND-UP

– The Sun claims that Manchester United are ready to open discussions with Marcus Rashford on a new deal. Rashford, who has three goals this season, is contracted until mid-2023.

– The Sun also reports Wilfried Zaha is set to be offered a new deal by Crystal Palace. Zaha, who has been linked with Arsenal and Chelsea, is into the final year of his contract at Selhurst Park.

Juventus are preparing for a straight swap deal in January with Aston Villa, which would see Moise Kean and Douglas Luiz trade places, according to JuveLive. Douglas Luiz's contract at Villa Park expires at the end of this season.

–  Everton and Arsenal both remain interested in Mykhaylo Mudryk but Shakhtar Donetsk want more than £30m (€34.5m) for the 21-year-old Ukrainian winger, claims Gianluca di Marzio.

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's owners "expect me to sort it out" when asked if he feared going the same way as compatriot Thomas Tuchel.

Klopp's fellow German coach was dismissed by Chelsea on Wednesday, with new Blues owner Todd Boehly cutting ties with the former Paris Saint-Germain boss in the wake of Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

That was Tuchel's 100th match in charge of Chelsea in all competitions. In his 18 months at the helm, he guided the Blues to a Champions League success, a Super Cup triumph and Club World Cup glory, as well as three domestic finals.

Chelsea failed to win any of those three domestic finals, with two of them coming as penalty shoot-out losses to Klopp's Liverpool last season.

The Reds, meanwhile, have hardly enjoyed a strong start to the new campaign. A 9-0 hammering of Bournemouth aside, Liverpool have looked a shadow of their best, and were thrashed 4-1 by Napoli in their opening Champions League match on Wednesday.

It was the heaviest defeat suffered by an English side in their Champions League opener since Arsenal lost 3-0 to Inter in 2003, while it also marked Liverpool's joint-worst loss in the competition.

Yet asked if he was worried for his future, Klopp – who has been at Anfield since 2015 – told reporters: "Not really, but who knows? The difference [between us and Chelsea] is we have different kinds of owners.

"Ours are calm and expect me to sort it and not think someone else will."

Klopp has plenty of goodwill in the bank, given the enormous success he has enjoyed at Liverpool, taking the Reds to three Champions League finals, and winning one in 2019, as well as their maiden Premier League title (2020) and winning both of England's domestic cups this year.

Jamie Carragher, who helped Liverpool win the Champions League in 2005, is concerned as to what the immediate future might hold, however.

Carragher, a pundit for CBS Sports, said: "The problem is not that game, forget this game, for me the big worry is that is this almost something that’s going to carry on through the season, is this the end of a cycle, have Liverpool massively got their transfer ideas wrong?

"This team looks so far off it and it has been at full pelt for five or six years under Jurgen Klopp and in seven games Liverpool have played this season, they've conceded the first goal in five, so they're not starting games well.

"I'm not going to criticise their attitude because what this team have done, certainly in Europe, the Premier League – the mentality is fantastic – but is this a massive drop off physically? Can this team get it back, that's the worry for me. What's going to happen in the future for this team?

"This is only the fourth game Liverpool have lost in 2022, it shows how consistent they've been, but the performances, more than the results, are what's worrying me right now."

Brighton and Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister believes Graham Potter sits among the world's elite, saying he would rather not think about his manager's potential move to Chelsea.

Potter has emerged as a frontrunner to succeed Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge following the German's shock dismissal.

He is reportedly set to meet Chelsea owner Todd Boehly on Wednesday.

Since taking charge at Brighton, Potter has overseen a steady period of growth, culminating in last year's best-ever Premier League finish (ninth).

The start of the new campaign has seen Brighton win four of their opening six league matches, taking 13 points in total.

But Mac Allister hopes Potter will stay put, while hailing him as one of finest managerial minds in the sport.

"For sure [he is among the elite coaches in world football], he will be an amazing coach," Mac Allister told Sky Sports.

"Hopefully he will stay here all his life but, at the same time, we know that will maybe be difficult, but he is really important for us as a club.

"I prefer not to think about [life without him] to be honest. Graham is really important for us, and we don't think about the future.

"We think about the present and he is here now, and we know we've got an important game at the weekend. We want the coaching staff to help us win that game."

Asked whether Potter had mentioned Chelsea during a team photograph session earlier on Wednesday, Mac Allister added: "I don't know anything.

"We didn’t speak about any situation. The boss is really important for us, we want him to be here for a long time."

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has questioned Chelsea's decision to part company with Thomas Tuchel and says he did not expect Todd Boehly to be so ruthless.

Chelsea announced on Wednesday, a day after their slow start to the season continued with a 1-0 European loss to Dinamo Zagreb, that Tuchel had been relieved of his duties.

Tuchel departs Stamford Bridge having won three trophies, including just the club's second ever Champions League, during his 20 months at the helm.

American owner Boehly has placed Tuchel's coaching staff in temporary charge until a replacement is found.

Chelsea hired and fired managers on a regular basis during ex-owner Roman Abramovich's successful tenure, but Carragher expected things to be different under a new regime.

"It's a shock because I just thought the new regime at Chelsea would be different to Roman Abramovich," Carragher told Sky Sports News. 

"If Abramovich was still in charge, you'd fear for Tuchel because of what happened in the past with Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti – lots of great managers. 

"But I did feel as if it might have been a different type of regime, so it's a huge shock. It hasn't been a great start, we get that.

"But Chelsea felt like a team who needed the transfer window to end, get the squad they wanted and give a top-quality manager a chance over the next few weeks or months.

"We're talking six games into a season. He bought Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who made his debut last night and Wesley Fofana's played two games.

"The idea that this team's been put together with a lot of money spent – I understand that – pressure comes with that and Thomas Tuchel will understand that.

"But he was almost like a director of football a lot through the summer as well, he was heavily involved in bringing the players in.

"So, he should have been given more time certainly, even just the next three games which takes them up to the international break, I don't know what the rush was right now."

According to widespread reports, Chelsea have been given permission by Brighton and Hove Albion to speak with head coach Graham Potter.

Out-of-work bosses Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane are also said to be under consideration by Boehly, who only took over ownership of the club at the end of May.

Potter has been widely lauded for his work at Brighton and also with former sides Swansea City and Ostersund, but Carragher has warned the Englishman about taking the job.

"It's a very ruthless club and I'm not sure he is the right fit," Carragher said. 

"Maybe Chelsea are saying they want to do things differently in the future in terms of having a coach in charge rather than a manager.

"But if I was Graham Potter, I would find that very hard to believe that they're going to do things differently. 

"They've just got rid of a manager six games into the season. Of course, it's a huge step up in his managerial career and Chelsea are still one of the top clubs. 

"They are still world champions right now, but you fear for Graham Potter that he'll be in the same boat as every other Chelsea manager has for the last 10 years.

"Unless he gets results instantly they'll be getting themselves another new manager in 12 months."

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag feels "sorry" for Thomas Tuchel following his dismissal as boss of rivals Chelsea.

Tuchel surprisingly parted company with the Blues on Wednesday, just a day on from starting their Champions League campaign with a shock 1-0 loss at Dinamo Zagreb.

An indifferent start to their Premier League campaign that has produced three wins, two defeats and a draw has left Chelsea sixth in the table.

The news came as a surprise to many, though, given Chelsea spent big in the transfer window to sign the likes of Raheem Sterling, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Having also won the Champions League four months after joining the club in January 2021, most would have expected Tuchel to be afforded more time by the club's new owners led by Todd Boehly.

Asked for his reaction to Tuchel's sacking, Ten Hag had told reporters: "I feel sorry, but there is nothing I can say. It's Chelsea, not Man United. It's early in the season, yes."

United are one place and two points ahead of Chelsea in the infant Premier League.

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.

Chelsea's dismissal of Thomas Tuchel has caught the footballing world by surprise, with his exit coming just a week after the close of the transfer window and a lavish spending spree.

The Blues are on the hunt for a new manager yet again, Todd Boehly swinging the axe in the same sort of fashion that predecessor Roman Abramovich would have – although Boehly's approach seems far more fierce.

Defeats to Leeds United, Southampton and Dinamo Zagreb were certainly disappointing for the Blues but, with just six games gone in the Premier League and one game down in the Champions League, there was plenty of time to turn things around.

The hunt for Tuchel's successor will be a difficult one, particularly given the strong record the German has boasted during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Here, Stats Perform dives into Opta's insight into Tuchel's spell in west London.

Delivering on all fronts

Tuchel leaves Chelsea with a 60 per cent win percentage across all competitions, with a 55.6 per cent percentage in the Premier League standing as the fourth highest in Blues' history among managers to have taken charge of at least 50 matches.

In the Champions League, where Tuchel led Chelsea to glory just months after taking the job in XXX, the German boasted an impressive 66.7 per cent win percentage in the competition.

It was in the FA Cup where Tuchel had the best return, with an 80 per cent win percentage having led the Blues to back-to-back finals, though they suffered defeat in both to Leicester City and Liverpool.

In 589 days in charge of Chelsea, Tuchel led the club to four major finals (2x FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League) and no manager has even taken charge of the Blues in more, with Jose Mourinho also boasting four.

Best of the rest

Unable to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool at the summit of English football, Chelsea firmly established themselves as the best of the rest under the guidance of Tuchel.

Under Tuchel's guidance, Chelsea picked up 122 points from 63 Premier League matches with only City (152) and Liverpool (136) picking up more.

Chelsea's return of 168 goals across all competitions under Tuchel was again beneath only the duo, with City netting 240 and Liverpool scoring 201.

With 49 clean sheets in 100 matches, Tuchel's side stand head and shoulders above all their rivals though, City ranking second with 44 and Liverpool in third with 43.

Had them in the first half

Quickly finding steam with Chelsea, leading them to Champions League glory and the FA Cup final just months after taking the reigns, Tuchel's return in the first half of his stint with the Blues is impressive.

In all competitions, Tuchel's first 50 games yielded 32 victories, 11 draws and seven defeats, with just 24 goals conceded.

A notable decline came in the final 50 matches of Tuchel's spell, however, with four fewer wins (28), two more draws (11) and nine losses – though the most alarming stat is conceding 53 goals, over double the amount from his first 50.

Chelsea have made the bold decision to axe Thomas Tuchel just a week after the transfer window brought an end to the Blues' lavish spending spree.

Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were all among the arrivals in a raft of additions for the Blues, with new owner Todd Boehly putting out a statement of intent.

The club's early season form has patchy, though, with Chelsea losing to Leeds United and Southampton in the Premier League as well as a shock defeat in their Champions League group-stage opener to Dinamo Zagreb.

The hunt for Tuchel's successor has begun but whoever takes the job will have a challenge finding stable footing, as Stats Perform identifies the big issues that need resolving.

Integrating new players

New signings do not always immediately settle into new surroundings, which was evident in Tuesday's defeat in Croatia as Fofana and Koulibaly were caught out for the only goal of the game, one that ultimately contributed to Tuchel losing his job.

Aubameyang – donning a protective mask due to a fractured jaw – also looked off the pace on his debut, though he saw a goal chalked off, and will have questions after the dismissal of the German, whom he was excited to work with again following their stint together at Borussia Dortmund.

Sterling, at least, seems to have adjusted quickly to life in west London, scoring three and assisting one in the opening six matches, but it's still early days for the former Manchester City forward.

Bringing the new additions up to speed and singing from the same hymn sheet will be a big priority for Tuchel's successor.

Choosing the best XI

Chelsea's struggles have come alongside an untimely loss in form for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who previously had his position in the side as a near certainty, but a new boss may have different ideas – particularly after some fine saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga in the defeat in Zagreb.

In defence, there's also decisions to be made with Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella, Ben Chilwell, Cesar Azpilicueta, Reece James and Thiago Silva all vying for a starting berth and looking to secure regular action ahead of their respective World Cup campaigns.

There is remains uncertainty in midfield, with the likes of N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic all having question marks over their long-term futures. Youngsters Conor Gallagher, Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei also need bedding into the side, the latter representing new recruits at Stamford Bridge.

Figuring out a settled XI is of vital importance for the new incumbent.

Solve the striker situation

One of the most problematic positions to fix, though, is the striker position.

The Blues' long-term striker issues have claimed numerous casualties, most recently Romelu Lukaku, while Timo Werner was also sold back to RB Leipzig.

The signing of 33-year-old Aubameyang on deadline day was not a permanent fix and, given the issues Mikel Arteta encountered at Arsenal managing the striker, issues may arise.

Neither Kai Havertz and Sterling are natural centre-forwards, while Armando Broja is only 20 and it would be a bold decision to throw the Albanian into the deep end as the leading striker.

Aubameyang is the obvious solution for the new boss but a long-term plan needs to be established.

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