‘I saw him before the game’: Dean Smith shares what Tuchel said about Chelsea sanction concerns last night

Dean Smith revealed a snippet of the conversation he had with Thomas Tuchel ahead of yesterday’s game between Chelsea and Norwich City.

Speaking after the Champions League holders concluded a 3-1 victory at Carrow Road, Smith admitted his opposite number’s sole focus had been on winning the game.

This might sound like any ordinary preparation from Tuchel, but it would be completely justified if his mind had wandered pre-match in light of recent events.

Tuchel never takes his eyes off the ball

On the morning of yesterday’s Premier League encounter, the government confirmed they had placed sanctions upon Roman Abramovich and numerous other Russian oligarchs with ties to Vladimir Putin.

The entire complexion of Chelsea is under threat, as their revenue streams have been cut, meaning administration could be a possible outcome.

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From top to bottom, people at the club will be impacted in one way or another.

This certainly includes the players, who have only ever known an Abramovich-ruled era.

However, they were afforded little time to contemplate the latest news.

Apparently the first-team only received word about their Russian owner’s punishment on the bus traveling to Norwich last night.

Perhaps this is why Tuchel’s full concentration was directed toward picking up three points; he simply didn’t have enough time to think of anything else.

“They are footballers, they are not politicians and Thomas is a football head coach like I am and not a politician,” explained Smith.

“So, when I saw him before the game, their mindset was totally on beating or trying to beat Norwich City today.

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“What’s gone on today is not under Thomas’ control, the players’ control, and they’ll just concentrate on their football.

Chelsea have to go again

It will continue to get harder for Chelsea to keep their attention ground, unless answers about Abramovich’s company are provided soon.

Tuchel’s next task is to motivate his squad ahead of Sunday’s game against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge, the last time non-season ticket holders will be able to attend a home match.

After that, a Champions League away fixture Lille, although the cost of travel could prevent this from even happening.

Few supporters could ever have predicted such a sorry state of affairs.

Never in their wildest dreams was the scenario even plausible, let alone realistic.

Keep your head up folks, we are all in this together.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.