Atletico show Chelsea virtue of stability under Simeone


AFP

Thomas Tuchel knew from his first day in charge at Chelsea the hire-and-fire culture that managers face when working under Roman Abramovich.

"What does it change?" Tuchel responded when asked in his first press conference if he was concerned at being handed just an 18-month contract.

"If they gave me four-and-a half years and they are not happy, they will sack me anyway."

Despite seeing the fate of prestigious predecessors like Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte, who were all sacked after winning Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge, and a club legend in Frank Lampard, who was dismissed last month, Tuchel has embraced the challenge he now faces.

In stark contrast to the Chelsea model, Atletico Madrid's rise over the past decade has been built around one talismanic leader in Diego Simeone.

Since Simeone took over a sleeping giant in 2011, Chelsea have had nine permanent managers.

The two sides meet for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday in Bucharest on the back of contrasting seasons so far.

Despite splashing out £220 million ($308 million) on new players in a deflated transfer market due to the economic impact of coronavirus, Chelsea find themselves fifth in the Premier League.

Another change of manager deemed necessary by Abramovich just to salvage a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.

Atletico's form has dipped in recent weeks, but they still enjoy a three-point lead at the top of La Liga with a game in hand over Real Madrid to spare.