Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel after the match against Burnley at Stamford Bridge, London, Britain, January 31 2021. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW COULDRIDGE
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel after the match against Burnley at Stamford Bridge, London, Britain, January 31 2021. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW COULDRIDGE

London — New Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel’s strong start in London has drawn comparisons with some of Stamford Bridge’s most successful managers but the German says the Blues still have a long way to go to make this season a success.

Since he replaced Frank Lampard in January, Chelsea have racked up 13 points from five Premier League games, the same as in Jose Mourinho’s first five matches in charge before he made the Londoners champions of England three times over two spells.

Tuchel’s start has only been bettered by Carlo Ancelotti, who led Chelsea to a league and FA Cup double, and Maurizio Sarri, under whom the Blues won the Europa League in 2019.

The former Paris St Germain coach said finishing in the top four — where Chelsea sit after their 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Monday — to qualify for next season’s Champions League remains the target.

“There are many teams behind us, chasing us but, yes, we had many points to recover when we started and it stays a big challenge because it’s many, many, many games coming,” Tuchel told Sky Sports. “Every game is a difficult game and we will keep on fighting,” he added.

“It was a good run so far but we will have a long way to go.”

Chelsea were languishing in midtable when Tuchel replaced Lampard less than a month ago. Since then, he has helped striker Timo Werner recover his confidence — the German scored his first league goal in more than four months on Monday — and brought in players who had been sidelined and are now fighting for their place in the team.

Left-back Marcos Alonso, who reportedly fell out with Lampard early in the season, has brought his attacking threat back and even out-of-form goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga returned for the game against Newcastle.

However, Tuchel said Edouard Mendy remains his first-choice keeper. The German also believes Chelsea have room for improvement, especially in attack.

“We lacked decision-making in the box, we can be ... more deadly,” he said.

Reuters

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