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Roman Abramovich defends ruthless Chelsea FC manager strategy: ‘We are pragmatic in our choices’


Roman Abramovich has given a rare insight into Chelsea’s approach to managers under his stewardship that many consider to be ruthless, describing the club as “pragmatic”.

13 permanent bosses in total have been appointed at Stamford Bridge since the Russian billionaire bought the club from Ken Bates back in 2003, with those dismissals costing an estimated £110million.

However, many would argue that such an uncompromising hire-and-fire strategy has proved successful over the years, with Chelsea having enjoyed unprecedented success under the current ownership, including five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League.

The decision to part company with Frank Lampard after only 18 months in January was seen at the time as a particularly harsh example of that approach, with the former England stalwart enjoying legendary status in west London after performing a key role in so much of that aforementioned glory as a player and also having guided Chelsea to a top-four finish and FA Cup final in his first season as manager despite initially dealing with a transfer ban.

However, the early signs indicate that the decision to replace Lampard with former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel was a potential masterstoke, with the German undefeated in his first 13 matches – a club record – and leading Chelsea back into the top four as well as past Atletico Madrid and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Addressing that managerial turnover during a rare interview with Forbes, Abramovich said: “[Chelsea’s culture] is definitely focused on performance, it is at the same time supportive, inclusive and diverse. Both elements are critical to our success and one does not work without the other.

“I think we are pragmatic in our choices. And we are comfortable making the right changes at the right time to ensure we can achieve our long-term ambitions.

“I hope it also says something about the clarity of the long-term ambition of the club. Those who join understand the objectives both on the pitch, as well as the wider positive role the club plays in the community.”

Thomas Tuchel has so far justified the decision to sack Frank Lampard

/ POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In a wide-ranging interview, Abramovich said he still enjoys the “unpredictability” of football as he insisted his desire to win trophies remains as strong as ever.

“The ambitions are as true now as they were when I first became owner and I hope that can be seen through the work we have been doing on and off the pitch over the last 17 years,” he said.


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