Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has a long record of firing and hiring coaches but his ruthless approach PAYS OFF… Thomas Tuchel is the latest in a line of managers including Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez and Antonio Conte to deliver silverware
- Roman Abramovich has changed managers 15 times since buying club in 2003
- The Russian billionaire is often criticised for chopping and changing coaches
- He has also spent over £110m on compensation payments to sacked coaches
- But Chelsea fans seem happy enough as the trophy cabinet keeps on expanding
There are few owners in football who can be said to be more trigger happy than Roman Abramovich, yet no-one could argue with the fact the Chelsea owner’s ruthless approach delivers results – and trophies.
Thomas Tuchel is the 15th managerial change the billionaire has made, at a cost of over £110 in compensation payments to unwanted coaches.
Yet Saturday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final was the 17th major trophy the Blues have won since he acquired the club in 2003.
Roman Abramovich is a ruthless owner but his Chelsea side keep on winning trophies
Tuchel only became Chelsea coach in January after Frank Lampard became the latest in a long line of managers to get the boot by Abramovich but the German has also upheld a tradition in getting instant success at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel became the third Chelsea manager in Abramovich’s reign to hold a major European trophy aloft after taking over mid-season, following Roberto di Matteo in 2012 and Rafael Benitez in 2013. And let’s not forget that Avram Grant was a John Terry slip away from doing the same in 2008.
Plenty of other managers, such as Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri, have delivered silverware in quick turnarounds, even if their successes did not help them stay in the job for long.
Sportsmail takes a look at the many times Abramovich has won trophies so soon after dispensing with a manager.
Abramovich, pictured with captain Cesar Azpilicueta, has won 17 major honours with Chelsea
RANIERI OUT, MOURINHO IN
It might seem hard to believe, but Claudio Ranieri spent almost four seasons at Stamford Bridge, the longest single stint any coach has had at the club in the 21st century.
The Italian stayed in the job when Abramovich bought Chelsea and had a pretty solid showing, coming second in the Premier League while reaching the Champions League semi-finals.
Claudio Ranieri was the first manager to work under Abramovich – and the first to be sacked
Jose Mourinho was the first Chelsea manager to win silverware for billionaire Abramovich
But Chelsea’s new owner had not come to London to come second and he fired Ranieri to bring in the next big star on the managerial scene, Jose Mourinho.
The self-proclaimed special one delivered at the first time of asking, winning Chelsea’s first league title in 50 years and also lifting the League Cup.
Chelsea retained the Premier League the following season and won the FA Cup in Mourinho’s third campaign while just missing out on the league title but after a poor start to his fourth season he was gone.
VILLAS-BOAS OUT, DI MATTEO IN
Abramovich looked to another dashing upstart Portuguese coach in Andre Villas-Boas in 2011, paying £13m in compensation to Porto to get his man.
But Villas-Boas’ bid to turn an ageing side containing dressing room heavyweights like John Terry and Didier Drogba into an intense, high-pressing unit did not go to plan and he was sacked the following March, with the Blues fifth in the table.
Chelsea paid over £13m to get Andre Villas-Boas from Porto but sacked him after eight months
Roberto di Matteo was an unlikely figure to deliver Chelsea’s first Champions League in 2012
Abramovich opted for a much-loved former player to lighten the mood at the club and Roberto di Matteo, who had been Villas-Boas’ assistant, proved to be a perfect fit.
Little more than two months later he had led Chelsea to their first ever Champions League gong after epic wins over Napoli and Barcelona plus a shootout win over Bayern Munich in the final in the Bavarians’ own stadium.
Di Matteo also lifted the FA Cup with Chelsea, his side beating Liverpool at Wembley 15 years after he had won the same trophy as a player, scoring a stunning goal in the final against Middlesbrough.
DI MATTEO OUT, BENITEZ IN
The former midfielder may have been the right man to detoxify Chelsea but the limits of his coaching ability became evident as his side crashed out of the Champions League group stage and floundered in the Premier League too.
In November, Abramovich sacked the man who had delivered him the holy grail only six months previously and turned to a manager with a stunning track record as a coach but far less loved by the Stamford Bridge faithful: Rafael Benitez.
Rafael Benitez was often booed by Chelsea supporters due to his spell in charge of Liverpool
But the Spaniard still managed to lead Chelsea to win the Europa League in his only season
Benitez’s appointment was met with disbelief by Chelsea fans and certain players such as Terry did not take to the Spanish tactician either.
But even with the supporters and a few players against him, Benitez helped turn Chelsea’s season around and they ended a chaotic, tension-filled campaign by hoisting the Europa League trophy, beating Benfica 2-1 in the final thanks to a last-gasp strike from Branislav Ivanovic.
MOURINHO OUT, CONTE IN (VIA HIDDINK)
Mourinho’s second coming with Chelsea followed a similar path to his first spell: a media frenzy, a Premier League title triumph and then an acrimonious split.
Abramovich delayed sacking the Portuguese for far longer than usual but was left with little choice when Chelsea were beaten by Leicester to fall to 16th in the table by mid-December, hovering one point above the relegation zone.
Guus Hiddink was given a second go at being Chelsea’s caretaker manager, following a spell in 2009 when he won the FA Cup after the dismissal of Luiz Felipe Scolari, while Abramovich scouted a long-term successor and Antonio Conte was the chosen one.
Antonio Conte led a surge to the title after falling close to the relegation zone the year before
Conte followed a very similar path to Mourinho, leading Chelsea to a flying start, helped by an innovative 3-5-2 formation which few thought could work in the Premier League.
Chelsea romped to the title with three games to spare, Conte becoming the latest manager in the Abramovich era to return Chelsea from the floor to the top.
CONTE OUT, SARRI IN
Conte did not just mimmick Mourinho’s knack for winning league titles, he also replicated his habit for falling out with owners and players.
After two seasons he was replaced by another Italian in Maurizio Sarri, who appealed to Abramovich’s burning desire to see Chelsea play free flowing football as well as win silverware.
Sarri-ball was not exactly a hit at Stamford Bridge though, where fans did not take to the chain-smoking boss.
The Italian seemed to have a problem imposing himself on the dressing room too, which came to a head when Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted in the League Cup final.
But, rather like Benitez before him, Sarri left Chelsea with a job well done, clinching a top-four spot to return the team to the Champions League and then thrashing Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final.
Plenty of other managers have stayed in top jobs after worse seasons than Sarri, but he and Chelsea had both had enough after one campaign and both parties agreed to end their agreement.
Maurizio Sarri’s spell with Chelsea was toxic at times but he still won the Europa League
LAMPARD OUT, TUCHEL IN
Just as he had done with Di Matteo, Abramovich wanted a club legend to re-connect with supporters and there was no-one like Frank Lampard to bring a feel-good factor back to the club.
Lampard did admirably in a difficult first season after Eden Hazard left and the club’s wings were clipped by a transfer ban, leading them to finish fourth and reach the FA Cup final.
His inexperience began to stand against him though in his second season after Chelsea splashed the cash last summer on Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, neither of whom he could get the best out of.
Frank Lampard had a good first season but struggled to integrate the club’s new signings
Thomas Tuchel followed a tradition of Chelsea managers winning trophies in their first season
Abramovich risked angering fans when he sacked Lampard but four months later few could doubt the wisdom of appointing Tuchel.
Chelsea fans in Porto paid tribute to their former coach and all-time top scorer with a rendition of ‘Super Frankie Lampard’ after beating City and quickly followed it by signing ‘There’s only one Thomas Tuchel’.
The serenading of coaches past and present showed that while Abramovic’s trigger-happy approach has been criticised by many in the game, Chelsea fans have gotten well used to seeing new faces in their dugout.
And as long as their trophy cabinet keeps on expanding, their gratitude to their owner shows no signs of abating.
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