Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been working with a large group of around 20 Chelsea players in the last couple of weeks since pre-season resumed.
Many of them are returning loanees and youth players, with only a handful of players from his squad of last season.
This is admittedly a new experience for Tuchel, but it sounds like he has been enjoying the challenge.
Of course, many of these players have uncertain futures and many of them might not even kick a ball for Chelsea competitively again, but Tuchel has been explaining how he must give them his full attention and full energy and that they all have the chance to impress him.
I’m sure that one or two of them will be coming into the first team setup this season as squad fillers, but Tuchel says there are ‘possibilities’ for all his players.
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Speaking to the Chelsea website about pre-season, Tuchel said:
“I have never had that before [managing a new group of players for pre-season]. That was new, I was not scared about it, but I was curious to see how the mentality is because don’t forget, some of them leave their families behind, some of them want to stay in their loan clubs, some of them have not that possibility.
“Some of them have done two or three pre-seasons here already. Some of them want to look absolutely for the chance to stay, some of them want to maybe leave. They’re humans, they’re not robots and that’s why we have to accept it’s not the easiest situation also for them.
“But what I’ve experienced every day is the complete opposite – it’s a very positive group, hardworking, full of desire to learn, hungry in every training session and ready to go.
“It’s such a good mix with the five or six guys who were with us here in the last half-a-year. I’m absolutely happy because it’s so much easier than I thought, it’s so easy and so nice to be the coach of these guys. There are possibilities for all of us and this group deserves our full attention, and they get it.
“I don’t judge on where you come from or what your history is, or what you earn or what your status is. I’m in charge of this group so they get my 100 per cent. I give my everything, they give it back, they make me smile, I give even more, that makes them smile, they give even more.
“You try every year to create a certain atmosphere where everybody is happy to come, everybody feels valued, everybody feels confident but everybody knows at the same time what is expected from them and then you have to live up to your talent.
“These guys are full of talent and now it’s on us to push them to their highest level possible. Then we will decide is this in the moment good enough for us, does this help us, is it better for the player to go on loan or get sold. This comes as the last step in this give and take.”