Tuchel: Hard to focus on football | We are privileged

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has told Sky Sports it is “hard to focus only on football” amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and feels “very privileged” to be a Premier League coach.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was hit by sanctions from the UK government on Thursday morning – resulting in the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s assets being frozen, plus “a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions”.

The sanctions are intended to stop the 55-year-old from making any money in the UK, but the government has granted Chelsea a special licence to allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches.

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Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol explains what the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich will mean for Chelsea

However, Chelsea cannot offer new contracts to players or staff, conduct any transfer business or sell new tickets to matches as things stand.

Tuchel said after Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Norwich on Thursday he is “still happy” to be head coach but admitted he “cannot influence” the situation.

In an interview with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves ahead of his side’s Super Sunday clash with Newcastle, the German was asked what he has had time to reflect on in challenging circumstances.

“Maybe it has never been more true to live in the moment because everything else seems very, very difficult,” he said.

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“To understand the situation feels very difficult, to see where it is going is maybe impossible. So in the end we stick to the mantra to live in the moment and worship where we are.

“It is not easy, but it is out of our control. Sometimes it makes things more difficult, but sometimes more easy to accept we cannot do anything in the moment, to wait and to constantly adapt.”

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Speaking after their 3-1 win over Norwich in the Premier League, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel claims his side can’t influence the situation at the club after the UK government brought sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich

Abramovich announced earlier this month that he intends to sell Chelsea, but the sanctions mean he is currently unable to do so.

However, an application to sell the club can be made to the government, as long as he does not profit or make any money from the transaction.

Asked where he was when he found out about the sanctions, Tuchel said: “I was actually coming here to the training ground to prepare for the match, to prepare myself to hop on the bus to go to the airport and fly to Norwich.

“Honestly for me personally I felt like when I was on the plane, and we were flying, with my headphones on, with space to myself to digest it, I was feeling very privileged to have the chance to be a coach and to coach a Premier League match. I felt very grateful for that.”

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Speaking after their 3-1 win over Norwich in the Premier League, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel claims his side can’t influence the situation at the club after the UK government brought sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea put their off-field problems behind them as goals from Trevoh Chalobah, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz gave them a 3-1 win at Carrow Road, but Tuchel says the “unacceptable” situation in Ukraine shows there are much more important issues in life than football.

“It is hard to focus only on football, but as bad and as horrible as the situation is in Ukraine, and the situation with Russia starting this war, which is incredible, unacceptable and horrible, there are so many things more important than football, and it was also before the war in Russia started,” Tuchel said.

“There are children dying, and other wars going on in the world that are not so much in the focus, there are huge influences coming from corona, people dying from corona, there are so much more important jobs out there than mine.

“And that makes me feel uncomfortable because nobody asks the nurse about taking care of her family, going to the hospital and being absolutely in total uncertainty about her personal future or dealing with corona.

“There are so many people out there helping in warzones, helping children getting water, getting medication, there are so many more important jobs out there than being a football coach, that it makes me feel uncomfortable to name it a problem, where we are. Because we are still very, very privileged, this is how I personally feel.

“Maybe that’s why it’s my obligation to focus on what I do, what I have, and I’m still a part of a big club, and still we are very privileged, I can only repeat it.

“And that’s why we try to live the moment and see what’s coming in the next hour because things are changing rapidly.”

Sunday 13th March 1:00pm

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