Thomas Tuchel laughed off Ralf Rangnick's claim he was offered the Chelsea job in February, saying: "Hopefully he got the date wrong."

Rangnick was this week appointed as Manchester United's interim manager until the end of the season.

The German confirmed in his first United news conference on Friday that he had turned down an opportunity to replace Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge on a four-month deal.

Tuchel was not surprised to hear his compatriot may have been approached by the Blues hierarchy, but hopes it came earlier than stated given the former Paris Saint-Germain boss took charge of the London club late in January.

When asked about Rangnick's comments, Tuchel served up a quip as he said: "So maybe after our draw against Wolverhampton [Tuchel's first game in charge], maybe the bosses saw the draw and thought he doesn't know what he's doing so let's bring Ralf in for four months and let him take over.

"He must have the date wrong, hopefully. Otherwise, it's a nice job to have in world football to be the coach of Chelsea.

"You need to be realistic that if you're getting the phone call, you're not the only one getting the phone call. Now I'm here and I'm happy."

Tuchel revealed Trevoh Chalobah has joined the list of Chelsea absentees ahead of Saturday's derby at West Ham due to a hamstring injury.

The defender sustained the injury in a 2-1 midweek win at Watford and will undergo a scan.

Ben Chilwell (knee), Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) and N'Golo Kante (knee) also miss out, but Reece James and Jorginho have been passed fit.

Tuchel refused to be drawn on whether fit-again striker Romelu Lukaku will start in the battle between the Premier League leaders and the fourth-placed Hammers at the London Stadium.

He said: "I will not tell you because this is part of the line-up that I want to know very late and don't want the opponents to know. He is in training and wants to start, he is eager to start. But how difficult is it for Romelu to hit top level after an injury?

"I honestly don't know exactly, but we should try to reach our top level and in every match that is different. Watford caused us lots of problems, so we had to focus on not giving up many big chances. It was a mental game to not get too frustrated and wait for the chances and escape with a win.

"Tomorrow there will be new questions. We believe in what we do and are full of confidence."

Trevoh Chalobah marked his first Champions League start with a goal as Chelsea stormed into the round of 16 with an emphatic 4-0 win over Juventus.

The holders only needed to a point to qualify and they outclassed Juve at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to replace them at the top of Group H with one game to play.

Chalobah controversially opened the scoring after Antonio Rudiger appeared to have handled in the penalty area and the Premier League leaders were a class apart in the second half, with goals from the outstanding Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi putting them in command.

Thomas Tuchel's side were in cruise control as they made it 10 games without defeat and Timo Werner rounded off a ruthless win when he added a fourth with the last kick of the game, although they lost Ben Chilwell to a knee injury after N'Golo Kante was also forced off. 

Chelsea started like a side brimming with confidence and the dangerous James forced a save from Wojciech Szczesny with a free-kick from a tight angle.

Chalobah opened the scoring in contentious fashion 25 minutes in, firing in on the half-volley with his right foot from eight yards out after it seemed the ball had struck Rudiger's arm when Hakim Ziyech whipped in a corner.

Thiago Silva showed great awareness to race back and keep the Blues in front with a desperate last-ditch clearance to deny former Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata, who had dinked the ball over the advancing Edouard Mendy.

Kante was withdrawn eight minutes before the break, Ruben Loftus-Cheek replacing him, but they continued to dominate following the interval and took complete control with two goals in the space of three minutes.

James controlled the ball on his chest before beating Szczesny with a rasping right-foot drive after Leonardo Bonucci headed Chilwell's cross into his path.

Hudson-Odoi then applied the finish with his left foot from close range, with Loftus-Cheek having shown great footwork before setting the winger up.

Szczesny thwarted Ziyech with a fine reflex save, but James was involved again as fit-again substitute Werner put the icing on the cake when he finished from close range as Juve lost their perfect Champions League record this season.

Thomas Tuchel insists "the door is always open" for Chelsea's academy players to make an impact in the first team, with Trevoh Chalobah the latest example of a young star successfully making the transition.

Tuchel spoke at length about Chalobah on Friday ahead of Chelsea's game against London rivals Arsenal.

Chalobah, who is reportedly to be offered a new contract, "is a guy we absolutely want to keep", Tuchel said.

The 22-year-old joined the Blues at the age of eight but had never featured for the senior side until this season when he was handed his chance under Tuchel following a loan with Lorient.

Through two games, Chalobah is one of only three Chelsea players to feature in every minute for the European champions, scoring a fine goal against Crystal Palace and securing a place in the squad for this campaign.

The defender, who can also play in midfield, is merely the latest example of an academy graduate succeeding, though.

Former coach Frank Lampard was credited with bringing through a number of homegrown stars, as Mason Mount played the most games (80) and minutes (5,868) and Tammy Abraham scored the most goals (29) in all competitions during his tenure.

But that trend has continued since Tuchel's appointment, as no Chelsea player has featured more often than Reece James (30 appearances) while Mount's six goals lead the way.

Abraham has left the club, as has Marc Guehi, while Billy Gilmour has gone out on loan, but Chalobah has joined James, Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in Tuchel's squad.

Asked if there was the opportunity for others to follow, Tuchel replied: "Always. Always, always, always. The door is always open. I love it and I truly believe that the supporters love it.

"The mix between big names, players from abroad, big personalities and famous players, the mix with academy guys, this is what makes the club special.

"When you look in the photo how we raised the trophy in the Champions League, there are so many boys in the academy on this photo. That makes it special and this is how it has to be. It is always about the mix.

"At the same time, there are no gifts on this kind of level. You have to earn your way, you have to overcome obstacles, you have to fight hard for it.

"If you want to make it at Chelsea, it's so much harder than in most of the clubs in Europe. It's simply like this, it's a reality.

"We cannot start to be political and prefer somebody from the academy over another player if he does not provide the same level, because in the end we are here to win football games and to push the group to the highest level.

"But this is what Trevoh did and I'm more than happy to have him in the squad, more than happy about how he managed to make his way through to first-team football at this kind of level.

"He joined the academy at I think eight years old, and this is simply fantastic.

"I will always be happy to push players like this, but you have to take your heart into your hands and be brave and courageous enough to take responsibility when it's there. We will never hold you down.

"If you come from the academy, if you can produce, if you are a nice guy, like Reecey, like Mason, like Trevoh, like Callum, we will never stop pushing you. We like it and I truly believe it has to be like this.

"But we cannot go through the door, we can just open it and show them the way. The guys have to go through it themselves."

Romelu Lukaku's arrival at Chelsea is good news for Timo Werner and Chelsea's other attacking players, according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea spent a reported club-record fee of £97.5million (€115m) to re-sign Lukaku from Inter this week, adding to Tuchel's options in the final third.

The 28-year-old was not included in the squad for Saturday's Premier League opener, with Werner instead leading the line for Chelsea.

Despite the Blues easing to a routine 3-0 win against Crystal Palace, it was a largely frustrating day for Werner as he managed only one attempt at Stamford Bridge.

Former RB Leipzig man Werner also had just 29 touches of the ball across his 90 minutes on the field, which was the fewest of any outfield Chelsea starter.

Lukaku's arrival has only increased the competition for places up top this term, but Tuchel can see the Belgian getting more out of Werner this season.

"I think the arrival of Romelu will help Timo a lot," Tuchel told Sky Sports. "He takes responsibility and will take some off Timo, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.

"It gives us more variations. We can play with two strikers or go with a front three. The arrival of Romelu is good news for Timo."

Asked if Lukaku will be ready to start next week's trip to Arsenal, Tuchel added: "He escapes isolation on Monday, has a full week to prepare and should be on the pitch."

Saturday's victory at Stamford Bridge was Chelsea's eighth in a row against Palace, sealed thanks to goals from Marcos Alonso, Pulisic and Trevoh Chalobah.

Academy product Chalobah was making his first Premier League start for the Blues, having also featured from the beginning in Wednesday's Super Cup win over Villarreal.

At 22 years and 40 days, he is the second youngest Chelsea player to score on his debut in the competition after Paul Hughes (20y 274d) versus Derby County in 1997. 

And Tuchel believes the instant impact made by Chalobah, the brother of Chelsea title winner Nathaniel, proves there is a route to the first team for up-and-coming players.

"He produced two fantastic performances and played almost every minute in pre-season," Tuchel said. "He is a humble guy from the academy and was so, so good today.

"He plays with so much confidence and has so many good behaviours on the pitch. It was a pretty perfect afternoon for him. 

"You saw how they celebrated with him and these are the stories we love about football.

"In this game, in an exciting league with players from abroad, there is still place for homegrown talent at our club and other big clubs."

Chalobah, who spent the past three seasons out on loan, fired past Vicente Guaita with a long-range shot to round off the scoring for Chelsea in front of their returning fans.

The youngster has been with Chelsea since the age of eight and is glad to have taken full advantage of his opportunity to impress under Tuchel.

"It is a dream for a boy like me being here and to play for my home club is unreal," Chalobah added. "As I was getting closer to the goal I thought I might as well shoot.

"I didn't know the ball went in. I didn't know what to do. I was over the moon.

"I have been training with the team in pre-season and the manager said I was playing and I was ready.

"I was surprised by the Super Cup game too and the work has paid off. I have taken the opportunity with both hands."

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