Soccer-Tuchel sacking not about Zagreb but lack of shared vision, says Chelsea owner Boehly

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group E - Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea - Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia - September 6, 2022 Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel before the match REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea's American owner Todd Boehly said sacking manager Thomas Tuchel last week had nothing to do with losing to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League but was because the German did not share the same vision for the club.

Tuchel, who won the Champions League for Chelsea in 2021 just months after being hired to replace Frank Lampard, was sacked on Wednesday after a 1-0 defeat in Croatia.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter replaced Tuchel on Thursday -- the first managerial appointment under Boehly who led a consortium that completed a 4.25 billion pounds ($4.91 billion) takeover of Chelsea in May.

Boehly said the change of head coach was all part of Chelsea's moving in a new direction.

"When you take over any business you just have to make sure you're aligned with the people who are operating the business," Boehly, speaking at the SALT leaders conference in New York, said when asked to explain Tuchel's departure.

"Tuchel is obviously extremely talented and someone who had great success at Chelsea but our vision for the club was finding a coach who wanted to collaborate with us."

Boehly suggested a more forensic approach to player development from the first team down to the academy was behind the change.

"There are a lot of walls to break down at Chelsea," Boehly said. "Before, the first team and the academy didn't really share data, they didn't share information about where the top players were coming from, so our goal was to bring a team together with the academy, with the first team, with the incremental clubs we want to acquire and develop, all of that needs to be a well-oiled machine.

"The reality of our decision was that we weren't sure that Thomas saw is the same way we saw it. No one is right or wrong, we just didn't have a shared vision for the future.

"It wasn't about Zagreb, it was really about the shared vision of what we wanted Chelsea Football Club to look like."

Boehly, who is co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, said the passion of Premier League fans was what had drawn him to acquiring Chelsea.

"When you experience it I don't think there's anything like it," Boehly said. "Maybe American college football could compare. But it's beyond passion. It's bordering religion."

($1 = 0.8654 pounds)

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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