Thomas Tuchel was very clear about his ambitions when he became Chelsea manager earlier this year.
“Chelsea is the club where you compete for trophies and there is no time to waste,” explained the German, not long after taking over from Frank Lampard.
“Now we compete for the FA Cup, we will get ready absolutely to compete at the highest level in the Champions League and we want to create a team that is absolutely no fun to play against.”
“From the start of next season at the latest we want to be ready to close the gap to Man City, Liverpool.
“I am very realistic and I am in a club whose DNA it is to win and go for trophies.”
Tuchel’s crystal ball
His objectives were laid out for everyone to see from day one.
A prophecy that has since been almost entirely accurate.
Chelsea certainly competed for the FA Cup, defeated by Leicester City in the final.
They definitely competed for the Champions League, defeating Manchester City in the final.
The Blues have become a joyless team to play against, mainly owed to their virtually impenetrable defence.
The gap has been shrunk between themselves, Manchester City and Liverpool, to the extent Tuchel’s men perch above their peers in the Premier League.
Basically, everything the 48-year-old predicted would come true has come true.
Transformation on the horizon
Yet, one demand has managed to slip through his fingers since he claimed the Stamford Bridge hot seat.
“We only have three changes. This is the biggest problem; this is a huge, huge disadvantage in European competitions, I can tell you for any English team,” said Tuchel after Chelsea drew 1-1 with Liverpool earlier this season.
“We play in the toughest league in the world and we can only make three changes.”
He was of course speaking about the reduced number of substitutes English sides can make compared to their European counterparts.
Before the Blues beat Brentford 12 days ago, Tuchel wanted to reiterate his valid point.
“Given the fact that we only have three changes in the Premier League and not five like the other leagues, it is a big thing that we have to cope with.”
Despite their strength in depth, Chelsea have been swamped with injuries this year, a situation not helped by the constant cycle of fixtures, both domestically and internationally.
So it’s understandable why Tuchel would call for change on the changes.
His wishes might just become reality.
In a report published by the Times, allowing five subs will be made a permanent rule across the board next season, pending Premier League approval.
This increase from three to five arrived during the pandemic and has since continued in most sections of the footballing landscape.
The International FA Board (Ifab) recommended a proposal for the indefinite move from three to five subs on Wednesday.
Some competitions can still stick with three subs, as the Premier League are currently, although the pressure on the division to instigate the modification would thicken.
If England’s top-flight does crumble and allow five swaps, then Tuchel will be an even happier man.