Chelsea sack Thomas Tuchel and target Brighton’s Graham Potter

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Chelsea have sacked Thomas Tuchel as manager after their 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and are expected to approach Brighton for permission to speak to Graham Potter.

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Potter is understood to be Chelsea’s first choice but Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane, both of whom are out of work, are also on their shortlist.

Tuchel’s departure follows a disappointing start to the season, with the club having also been beaten by Leeds and Southampton in the Premier League.

The co-owner Todd Boehly learned that some senior players were unhappy with Tuchel’s tactics and is keen to make his own appointment. Chelsea used three formations in Zagreb, one of which included using Raheem Sterling in central midfield.

“On behalf of everyone at Chelsea FC, the club would like to place on record its gratitude to Thomas and his staff for all their efforts during their time with the club,” a statement said. “Thomas will rightly have a place in Chelsea’s history after winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and Club World Cup in his time here.

“As the new ownership group reaches 100 days since taking over the club, and as it continues its hard work to take the club forward, the new owners believe it is the right time to make this transition.

“Chelsea’s coaching staff will take charge of the team for training and the preparation of our upcoming matches as the club moves swiftly to appoint a new head coach.”

Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard in January 2021 and won the Champions League four months later. An anticipated Premier League title challenge the following season failed to materialise, with Romelu Lukaku’s club record arrival not bringing the desired impact, but the campaign was significantly complicated by the situation surrounding Roman Abramovich’s ownership. Tuchel led the team to the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals but lost both to Liverpool on penalties.

The new owners, led by Boehly, have backed Tuchel this summer, spending a record amount in one window to bring in Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among others. Boehly also leant heavily on Tuchel as he took his first steps in football.

The game in Zagreb was Tuchel’s 100th with Chelsea and he said after: “At the moment, everything is missing.” Tuchel has struggled to contain his emotions in recent weeks, being sent off against Tottenham and deemed “largely culpable” for his clash with Antonio Conte, and shown a yellow card in Zagreb.

Chelsea are five points off the top of the Premier League and three points off fourth spot.

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